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kUDRLD 18. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 

\ Processed World Issue 1 8 • Wii 

1 1 N \i 

:w Giving Heads 2 

.^ introduction 

/ Whatever Happened to the 

Sexual Revolution? 4 

article by maxine bolz 

My Date with Holly Near lo 

satire by ann-marie 

Kareendi's Story n 

fiction by ngugi wa thiorigo 

Fantasy's Legal, Reality's Not i$ 

article by clitora e cummings 

Poles 'n Holes: Workin' in the Porn Biz 16 

tale of toil hy chaz bufe 

Kelly Girl Plays Postmistress 20 

fiction by kelly girl 

My Interview at Pisstex 25 

true story by sarkis manouchian 
Big Bang 27 

Jution b) jiJJ goldthorpe 

Your Knife In My Life 28 

taU of toil hy tinda thomas 

Poetry 30 

harLla\ bill rosetta a talcott, tranfield, antler 

Wenda 32 

Jution h) james pollack 

863-AIDS 35 

talc oj toil h] pa\a lourdc 

Hot Under The Collar 37 

successful bankworker strike in toronto, "why i humiliate" from an sf temp 

Letters 41 

from our readers 

Cover Graphic by: L. Wiens 

All of the articles in Processed World reflect the views and 
fantasies of tfie autnor and not necessarily those of other contri- 
butors. ISSN 0735-9381. Processed World is indexed in the 
Alternative Press Index. 



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CREDITS: Pauline Paranoia, Lucius Cabins, Frog, Primitive 
Morales, Dennis Hayes, Zoe Noe, Ana Logue, Mark Leger, Bevel, 
Chaz Bufe, Sarkis Manouchian, Maxine Holz, Michelle L.P., 
Florence Burns, Emily, Louis Michaelson, Bonita Thoreson, 
R Boyarsky, R.L. Tripp, )RS, Linda R., Red, Linda Thomas, D.S. 
Black, Doug P., Dave M., Jeff Goldthorpe, and a whole bunch of 
other people.... 




Start my (4 issue) sub with PW #: 

Outside of US: Please send $ in U.S. Funds, or int'l money 
order. Mail to Processed World, 41 Sutter St., #1829, 
San Francisco, California, 94104, USA. 


elcome to Processed World 
#18, an issue devoted to the al- 
ways-popular subject of sex. We 
begin with Ana Logue's account 
of some of our collective rumi- 
nations, and Primitivo Morales 
provides a few of his own. Then 
Maxine Holz offers an analysis 
of today's moral climate and its 
relation to the sexual revolution 
of the past decades. Chaz Bufe 
talks candidly about working in 
a porn theater in his Tale of Toil 
POLES W HOLES..., while Linda 
Thomas contributes another glimpse 
of the dark side of the sex industry 
E. Cummings condemns the hypo- 
crisy surrounding the sale of sex in 
and Paxa Lourde takes us inside the 
AIDS hotline in 863-AIDS. 

In BIG BANG, Jeff Goldthorpe por- 
trays the lingering anxiety AIDS has 
caused among bisexual men. Our 
friend Med-o, traveling in Africa, 
sent an excerpt from Kenyan writer 
Ngugi Wa Thiongo's novel DEVIL ON 
THE CROSS about routine sexual 
harassment in the offices of Nairobi. 
hilarious send-up of Near's style of 
feminist sexuality, gratefully re- 
printed from Brooklyn's SHOE 
POSTMISTRESS marks the return of 
Kelly Call Girl (last seen in PW#li) 
with her first pornographic tale. The 
issue's remaining fiction piece is 
WEND A, which provoked our seve- 
rest difference of editorial opinion 
in some time. A bare majority found 
it good satire, while many others felt 
it was flat or even offensive. Read 
it and let us know what you think. 

cribes a real-life hostile encounter 
at a Silicon Valley pharmaceutical 
firm. PISSTEX, together with poetry 
about work, HOT UNDER THE 
collar's accounts of bank-worker 
resistance and our letters, provides 
a dose of the kind of material PW is 
best known for. 

Enjoy, and please send us your 
comments, disagreements, etc. 



Please subscribe right now 

SUBSCRIBERS . : If your label says 

16, 17, or 18, you have EXPIRED! 



41 Sutter St. #1829 

San Francisco, CA 94104 





The Never Ending Story 

Are women capable of being as sexually 
aggressive as men? Why do 13-year-old 
girls get pregnant? Are men or women 
who use their position of power to get sex 
interested in sex or power, or both? How 
much of our sexual behavior is instinctual, 
how much the product of our mental life? 
These are some the questions raised by 
members of the Processed World collec- 
tive and their friends, when we first pro- 
posed doing another issue on sex (the first 
was PW #7). 

Some of us thought we had answers to 
some of the questions. We were, I think, 
rather surprised to discover how divergent 
these answers were. What 1 learned from 
this discussion is that people's ideas about 
sex are as unique as their own sexuality, 
which is, in turn, related to their own ex- 
perience. As one woman put it, "After 
three abortions how can 1 speak about 
women being sexually aggressive? I can 
never be as aggressive as most men be- 
cause the experience of these abortions 
never leaves me. When a man has sex, he 
does not consider this consequence." 

A month later, we had gotten down to 
the real nitty gritty: who has it better, 
men or women? One PWer argued persua- 
sively that women were not interested in 
having sex with men who had no money. 
"If you work at a low-paying job, you are 
invisible. Women, especially women with 
higher paying jobs, look right through you 
as if you didn't exist." It is much easier 
for a woman, he concluded, to have sex 
than a man. Yes, we agreed, it is much 

easier for a woman to have sex than a 
man, even in San Francisco, if she does 
not care who her partner is. But, it was 
pointed out, it's much less likely that a 
woman will have an orgasm as a result 
of having sex, especially casual sex, than 
it is for a man. In other words, the greater 
availability of sex for women does not 
entail greater access to sexual fulfillment. 

The discussion then turned, in my 
mind, to the millenial debate over the 
differences between women's and men's 
sexuality. The pendulum swings from 



l-v ^ 







the position that women are sexually 
voracious and almost insatiable, unless 
repressed, to the view that what women 
really want is to be held and cuddled. 

Coming to sexual age in the mid-60's, 
I read sex manuals that preached the gos- 
pel of the simultaneous orgasm. These 
books stressed the importance of fore- 
play and even endorsed oral sex, with 
the proviso that it not lead to "climax." 
They counseled men to delay ejaculating 
by thinking of baseball statistics. The 
books (they were very much alike) re- 
ported that the vaginal orgasms their 
authors promoted were considered ab- 
normal by the Victorians. Reading the 
Kinsey Report during that period, I dis- 
covered that most American women did 
not have orgasms during intercourse. 
Freud and Wilhelm Reich were much in 
fashion, and it was easy to assume that 
non-orgasmic women (they were called 
frigid then) were victims of the dread 
disease of sexual repression. 

In 1969, Anne Koedt published The 
Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm as a radical 
feminist tract. The clitoris, she argued, 
is the source of all female pleasure. 
Since then women who have experi- 



enced vaginal orgasms, and even multiple 
orgasms, have had to go into the closet 
or risk having their feminist credentials 
revoked. (At a certain time during the 
70s, a feminist male remarked, "it was 
difficult to remain politically erect.") 

Today, although we are just one step 
away from our children looking through 
the keyhold and calling the police, the 
party line on sex is whatever gets you 
off is OK (as long as it doesn't hurt you 
or anyone else and you don't exchange 
bodily fluids with a stranger). Most 
women do not have orgasms during in- 
tercourse, according to Dr. June Reinisch 
of the Kinsey Institute, and there is no 
reason they should, she says, unless they 
wish to "broaden [their] range of sexual 
activity." To do that, she advises seeing 
a sex therapist. 

The news that most women do not 
have orgasms during intercourse should 
come as a great relief to men suffering 
from performance anxiety. Not only 

doesn't size matter, duration and tech- 
nique may not count either. At least this 
is the impression I get from my reading 
of sex and relationship columns in the 
newspapers. Apparently, we have reached 
the ultimate expression of the credo that 
states every person is responsible for his 
or her own feelings, pleasure, karma, 
life, etc. Sex between two people is no 
longer a sexual relationship, it is merely 
two people having sex together. 

Reading Masters and Johnson's latest 
book, 1 was treated to a different insight 
into heterosexual relationships. Lesbian 
couples, I learned, typically spend more 
time than heterosexual couples, some- 
times hours, in their love-making; but 


they make love less frequently. Gay men, 
on the other hand, are more likely to have 
more sexual encounters and engage in 
less foreplay than heterosexuals or Les- 
bians. Heterosexual sex, it appears, is a 
meeting and merging of male and female 
sexuality. It is different from gay or les- 
bian sex in that it requires more effort 
and imagination to understand the needs 
of the other. A gay man, presumably, 
does not have to ask his partner if he has 
come yet. 

Expert opinion will continue to change. 
The law of the marketplace demands it. 
And sex will continue to be exciting 
and frustrating, as easy as riding a bicycle, 
and as difficult as getting a taxi in the 
rain, no matter what the experts say. 

Which brings us to the next topic: 
censorship. All of us at PW agree that 
censorship, even of violent material, like 
Rambo, is never acceptable. The Meese 
commission's report on pornography has 
already had its effect. It has been re- 
ported that a rapist is using the Com- 
mission's recommendations (which were 
not its findings) as his defense. Porno- 
graphy, he argues, made him do it. When 
I gouge out my opponent's eyes, I will 
blame it on Shakespeare, or better yet, 
every theatre company whose production 
of King Lear I have seen and the uni- 
versity where I studied English Literature. 
My son, who plays with a toy Uzi and 
GI Joes, thinks real wars are "stupid" 
because people get killed in them. He 
knows the difference between fantasy 
and reality. 

by Ana Logue 


The current war on drugs & sexuality 
doesn't really surprise me. If the fear of 
syphilis helped usher in 'Victorianism, 
what should one expect of AIDS? The 
hatred of the "underclass" has fueled 
previous drug hysterias, and today's so- 
ciety has more hatred and almost as 
much moral smugness. I may not be sur- 
prised at the current prohibitions, but I 
am puzzled. I can understand a person 
not wishing to use drugs, or whatever. I 
am, however, baffled as to the thinking of 
those people who get so worked up 
about somebody else's life. Most of the 
offending people are quite innocuous. 
OK, you don't want your pilot to be 
zonked out of his/her gourd (pot, booze 
or stress) — you want them clear-headed. 
Most jobs don't require that level of alert- 
ness — if I can do my job stoned, so much 
the better for me. If I can't hack it, get- 
ting fired seems like apt treatment. Who 
suffers— American productivity? Give me 
a break. Of course, some jobs are only 
endurable with some form of escapist 

Sure, people hurt/kill themselves with 
drugs (and with sex), which may be sad, 
but it is still their own business. This 
great hoopla over drugs (which will last 
longer than that over sex), so filled with 
ignorant rage, citing symptortis as causes, 
must ignore the crucial question: "Why 
do these people (the 'druggies' and 'sex- 
wierdos') do these things?" 

The answers that are given vary from 
the incomplete to the stupid. Why do 
people need dozens of sex partners, or 
to be stoned or drunk all the time? At 
the risk of being both incomplete and 
stupid, I would quote an old saying (bor- 
rowed from a friend's grandmother) "Oh, 
you mean 'Feeling no pain." What an 
irrational thing— to seek relief from the 
grim pain of life. 

But you see, there are these people — 
some who would love someone of the 
wrong type (whether of the wrong race, 
religion, or gender), others who would 
smoke pot, or do coke, or chase the 
dragon. Let us arrest them, stone them, 
exile them, kill them. They are not one 
of us good people, with our devices and 
Valium and booze and affairs. We who 
are preparing a war, to sacrifice un- 
known numbers for some insane pur- 
pose, understand morality as no other 
people could. We who pollute the world 
will keep all bodies free from contami- 

As for me — your stuff or mine, your 
place or mine? 

by Primitivo Morales 


To organize and maintain the enormous number of penodicals 
Processed World receives regularly Interested'^ It's probably 
possible to arrange college credit if you are in school... call 
49S-«8a3 to talk about It 

hat would a future anthro- 
pologist make of the bizarre and seem- 
ingly contradictory assortment of in- 
formation on sexuality available today? 
Place side by side: the Meese Report, 
with its sordid account of the social 
effects of pornography; an article in 
Self, a respectable women's magazine, 
by a professional journalist about the 
unexpected pleasures of moonlighting 
in a phone sex company; and On Our 
Backs, "Entertainment for the Adven- 
turous Lesbijm" which promotes sexual 
experimentation and sex education 
from a decidedly feminist point of 
view. How does one reconcile the fact 
that in our society, which places siich 
a high premium on sexual pleasure, 
sexuality is also the object of intense 
public scrutiny and official censure? 

A popular interpretation of this para- 
doxical evidence is that we are in a period 
of transition. According to the pendulum 
theory of historical change, sexual atti- 
tudes periodically shift from one extreme 
to the other. Thus the 40s and 50s were 
characterized by uptight, moralistic atti- 
tudes toward sex. In the 60s and 70s a cy- 
cle of sexual permissiveness followed, while 
now in the mid-80s, the pendulum appears 
to be in full swing back to the repressive 
extreme. Presumably, by the late 90s we 
can expect yet another reversal. 

Sucfi cavalier explanations of social/ 
sexual "trends" ignore the diffuse, but pro- 
found effects that changes in the moral 
climate have on everyone's daily lives (not 

just on those who become the immediate 
victims of moral panics). These explana- 
tions don't account for people's suscepti- 
bility to these shifts, then ignore the moral 
crusaders' political motives, and trivialize 
the legacy of sexual freedom resulting from 
the social movements of the 60s, 70s and 
early 80s. The pendulum theory promotes 
a fatalistic passivity in response to the 
current moral crusade ( "Don't worry, it's 
just a reaction, it'll pass in time"). But I, 
for one, am not prepared to sit out 20 
years of sexual repression. 

A history of attitudes on sexuality re- 
veals that society has not always been so 
obsessed with it. Moral standards and 
definitions of what is sexually desirable 
vary immenesely throughout history and 
between cultures, as do the manner in 
which sexual mores get encoded and en- 
forced. It is only in the past century, for 
example, that medical and psychiatric 
institutions have played a significant role 
in setting standards for sexual normalcy 
and health, and in defining appropriate 
sexual behavior. Much more recently — 
since the 50s— sexuality has become a key 
component of our self-esteem. We feel like 
failures if we don't have a good sex life. 

What has remained constant in our cul- 
ture for centuries is a puritanical view of 
sex as a dark force, the wild side of human 
nature that society must tame. According 
to this view, which Gayle Rubin has 
termed the "domino theory of sexual peril," 
unchecked sexuality will devour everything 
in its path, leading to the demise of civi- 
lization as we know it (see bibliography 
at the end of this article). 

It is this view that keeps resurfacing in 
morality campaigns and that becomes the 
outlet of many fears and anxieties. It was 

this sex-negative attitude that the sexual 
revolution of the 60s and 70s challenged. 
The result was new opportunities for per- 
sonal freedom and sexual pleasure and ex- 
perimentation which for the first time 
touched the lives of millions, and not just 
small groups of avant-gardists in bohemian 
quarters. For if sex is a vector of oppres- 
sion, as Gayle Rubin puts it, it has also 
been a vector of freedom. The liberation 
of sex from its procreative function cleared 
the way for a complete reevaluation of 
women's place in the world and furthered 
the public emergence of a homosexual 
rights movement. 

The conviction that men and women 
could enjoy sex outside the nuclear family 
contradicted the ideal of Woman as guar- 
dian of sexual morality. The excitement 
and op)enness about sexuality allowed many 
women to explore their sexual passion. 
These developments helped break down 
double standards based on "natural" dif- 
ferences between the sexes. 

Even those of us who were too young or 
apolitical to be directly involved in the so- 
cial movements of the 60s and 70s bene- 
fited from the change in the moral land- 
scape that followed. I never expected to 
marry and have kids with the first man I 
had sex with— at fifteen, marriage was the 
furthest thought from my mind. What I 
sought was pleasure, adventure, experience, 
and, yes, romance. In a contrast to my 
mother's generation that should not be 
underestimated, I entered my first sexual 
relationship expecting to enjoy it, and 
without fearing pregnancy. This experi- 
ence was momentous and scarcely free from 
anxiety, but it wasn't laden with immense 
burdens of guilt and fear either. Later, at 
sixteen, I discovered the pleasures of 


casual sexual relationships. 

This historically unprecedented sexual 
freedom was intimately connected with 
my idea of myself as an individual with 
my own life to lead, with my own goals 
and desires. Twenty years earlier I would 
have been preoccupied mainly with seek- 
ing a man to append myself to, and hoping 
for children to devote my life to. When I 
did decide to have a child, I discussed the 
division of labor at length with my part- 
ner. There was an unquestioned assump- 
tion that life and work outside the domes- 
tic realm was equally important to both of 
us. A serious commitment to a life-part- 
ner and a child has not ended the process 
of sexual discovery and experimentation. 
I can hardly claim to have found the key 
to sexual happiness. My own experience 
has led to painful bouts of jealousy, 
sexual insecurity, and time-management 
nightmares, and I am still contending with 
the traditional gender division in many 
ways. I hope that my daughter will bene- 
fit from our continuing attempts to chal- 
lenge these limitations. 

Millions have enjoyed the opportunities 
for greater fulfillment that freedom from 
the traditional confines of conjugal hetero- 
sexuality has provided. For many of us, 
these private opportunities would have 
been unthinkable without a widespread 
conscious challenge to our traditional 
sexual heritage. 


The initial wave of freedom and ex- 
citement that redefined sexual roles left in 
its wake a whole new set of problems and 
anxieties, especially for women. Sexual 
freedom came to mean too much and too 
little at the same time. Divested of their 
radical social implications, the new sexual 


I Love Hitting Myseli With Your 
Nuts In My Mouth 

attitudes were narrowly reinterpreted as 
"the more sex the better." The idea of 
sexual revolution became associated with 
a promiscuous "lifestyle"; this fit in nicely 
with the hedonistic ideology that has 
marked the 80s.* 

Once sexual freedom and promiscuity 
had been equated, those who didn't get off 
on promiscuity — who felt pressured into it 
or who tired of it when the novelty wore 
off — began to question the importance of 
sexual freedom itself. For many women, in 
particular, the freedom to have more sex 
doesn't do the trick. The route to sexual 
pleasure tends to be easier for men, who 
are often more comfortable with and 
aware of their sexual desires. Women are 
confronted with the double problem of 
freeing themselves from subordination to 
male desire while discovering their own. 
And it doesn't help that the discourse of 
sexual desire has, until very recently, been 
primarily a male domain. Our attempts to 
define our sexuality are complicated by ef- 
forts to counter what we have experienced 
as oppressive sexual objectification. For 
example, we want to free ourselves from 
our conditioned obsessiveness with our 
bodies, while discovering new ways to 
feel at home in them. For some feminists 
the solution has been to reject the whole 
concept of sexiness, which they consider 
to be inextricably associated with oppres- 
sive male standards. In its extreme form, 
the attitude holds that sexual objectification 
is the keystone to mysogyny and is there- 
fore central to the widespread violence 
against women in our society. This is the 
position of the feminist antipornography 
movement. Other feminists have attempted 
to broaden the notion of sexiness to en- 
compass qualities that are more in tune with 
their own tastes. 

Another ideology popularly associated 
with sexual liberation is sexual naturalism, 
the notion that all we have to do is recover 
our "natural" sexuality in order to trans- 
form society into a loving community. 
But what constitutes natural sexuality? 
One major problem with the idea that 
sexuality can be extricated from social and 
historical contexts is that it leads to new 
standards of "naturalness" that exclude 
acceptance of benign forms of sexual vari- 
ation. There is nothing particularly natural 
about a vibrator, for example, yet many 
women have found their path to orgasm 
using one. Homosexuality has often been 
condemned on the grounds that it is a 
crime against nature. 

The new opportunities opened up by 
sexual freedom were thus riddled with 
confusion and ambiguity. Over the past 

Ironically, the divorce of sexual freedom from 
social implications has made it possible to put sexual 
passion in the service of traditional conjugal hetero- 
sexuality. In The Remaking of Sex (see bibliography) 
Ehrenreich et al describe the fundamentalist sexual 
revival, which encourages women to be sexy but only 
with their husbands and in their own bedrooms. 


The First Officially Recorded Case of 
Job Burnout! 

few years, a new body of research and 
literature has attempted to explore and 
clarify these issues. (See the bibliography 
at the end of the article). Meanwhile, 
other social changes have exacerbated 
the confusion that became the breeding 
ground for reaction. The counterculture, 
which had provided a context for experi- 
mentation and discussion, collapsed. The 
disintegration of family and community 
networks accelerated, one example being 
the dramatic increase of single-mother 
families. Women, particularly those in 
rural areas where the traditional mores 
continued to hold sway, were afraid of the 
license the new sexual freedom gave their 
husbands. They feared that their husbands' 
ties to them would be weakened, leaving 
them in the lurch with little possibility 
of financial independence. 

The sexual revolution (or, rather, a 
vague constellation of ideologies and 
images that the term has come to evoke) 
became a scapegoat for many problems 
that had little to do with sexuality per se. 
It also became a focus of disillusionment 
because of inflated expectations about the 
dsgree to which it could change people's 



Controversy over the meaning of the 
sexual revolution has led to contentious 
debate over the vast growth of the com- 
mercial sex world. The sex industry ac- 
counts for expenditures of billions of 
dollars every year. In 1985 alone, $375 
million was spent on porn videos in the 
U.S. For some people this is an alarming 
indication that the sexual revolution has 
gone too far. Opposition to the sex industry 
has brought together feminists like Andrea 
Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon and 
right-wing zealots like Edwin Meese in an 
unlikely coalition. These people have tar- 
geted the sex industry as a primary locus 
of social decay and female oppression. 

Certainly many entrepreneurs (porno- 
graphers, advertisers, media moguls), few 
of them concerned with feminist ideas, 
have capitalized on the popularity of sexual 
diversity and experimentation. Yet amidst 
the controversy over the sex industry's ef- 
fects on women, there is a remarkable lack 
of analysis of what the industry means to 
the women who work in it, and how sexual 
liberalization affects them. 

What is really going on in the sex busi- 
ness? Why do women work in the indus- 
try? How is the campaign against porno- 
graphy and prostitution affecting the wo- 
men in it? Does the freedom of sexual 
expression contribute to the oppression of 
women in the industry? 

It's difficult to talk about the sex indus- 
try as a monolithic whole. The kinds of 
people who work in it and their reasons 
for doing so, vary as much as the ser- 
vices the sex industry provides. 

For many female sexworkers, working 
in The Life is fraught with danger and 
violence. See, for example, Linda Thomas's 
"Your Knife in My Life" in this issue. But 
the stereotypical idea of how women enter 
into prostitution and why they are vul- 
nerable to violence is badly skewed. Except 
for a small minority (accurate figures 
about the sex industry are impossible to 
obtain for obvious reasons) people don't 

''^"^ft"' 'I 

(r<,m MlUaukci- CountN Campaign Manual <>l ihi- 
Social Demoiralic Parn Fall |9|2 

get dragged into prostitution when some 
porn-addicted pervert forces them to sell 
their bodies. Violence and degradation 
often begin in a family life marked by 
poverty, desperation, and, in many cases, 
physical and emotional abuse. Whereas 
for some wom.en prostitution continues the 
pattern, for others it provides a tangible 
escape to economic independence. In any 
case, the decision to market one's sexuality 
is often based on a perception of limited 
opportunities for economic survival in tl.e 
straight world. 

Much of the violence associated with this 
work stems from the stigma and repres- 
sion. Clients who feel guiltiest about their 
sexual needs and the most disdainful of 
prostitutes are the most likely to treat 
them badly. The fact that prostitution is 


Available in 
pump, spray & 
concentiate lor 
those XTRA tough 

ghettoized in areas of high crime is also a 
major cause of danger. Other significant 
sources of danger are the police and the 

Directing moral campaigns toward the 
suppression of the sex industry, instead 
of addressing the underlying economic 
issues for the women in it, makes things 
harder for those women, especially the 
ones at the bottom. Prosecution of pros- 
titution makes it difficult for them to get 
out of The Life. They need money while 
looking for new work, and the bail for 
routine arrests makes it difficult to accu- 
mulate funds. Prostitution's illegality also 
reinforces subordination of prostitutes to 
their pimps, who provide protection of 
sorts. One woman was robbed and threat- 
ened with rape by hotel security guards 
who accused her of soliciting. The fear of 
being turned in makes it hard to sustain a 
community— every bust leads to suspicion 
of betrayal. Many women in the industry 
say that escort services routinely turn in 
women in exchange for not being busted. 

Greater restriction on prostitution will 
not put an end to it. To the contrary, in- 
tensified repression of the sex industry 
will most damage the women who are the 
most vulnerable to abuse. At this end of 
the industry, demand is created by society 
with limited opportunities for sexual ful- 
fillment, while the supply of women is 
assured by poverty. 

Some women believe that the changes 
of the past decades have affected pros- 
titution. It may be, for example, that a 
stronger sense of independence has some- 
what lessened women's reliance on pimps 
for protection and emotional support. 
Feminist organizations like the U.S. Pros- 
titutes Collective and C.O.Y.O.T.E. (Call 
Off Your Old Tired Ethics), by defending 
the rights and dignity of women in the 
sex business, take away some of the stig- 
ma associated with it. Women like Linda 
Thomas benefit from a sexually open- 
minded community that let them "come 
out " about their experiences, and put them 
in perspective. Their willingness to open 
up, in turn, is a valuable contribution to 
our own understanding. 

Moral campaigns, on the other hand, 
force women sex workers deeper into the 
closet, and increase the stress of leading a 
double life. The stigma makes it harder 
to organize or demand better working con- 
ditions, and also to seek help or get legal 
protection. One woman, for example, who 
had a serious occupational accident on a 
porn set could not prosecute because the 
publicity would ruin her reputation. She 
also got fired from a 'straight" job when 
her coworkers discovered she worked as a 
porn actress. 

The stigma associated with sex work has 
led to a gross underestimation of a second 
category of sex workers, the "temps." 
Many women occasionally trade sex for 
some quick cash, or maybe in a good dis- 


count on a new car. Such trade can in- 
volve anything from a quick blowjob to 
a one-time session for a nude magazine or 
an orgy scene in a porn movie. We may 
wonder why our society creates a demand 
for such temp jobs, but it's hard to por- 
tray many women who do them as es- 
pecially oppressed. The sex temps I know 
of come from all kinds of backgrounds 
and they look on these jobs as a way to 
make a fast buck — not something they'd 
want to do all the time but not particularly 
problematic either. 

Many women, particularly dancers, mo- 
dels, and escort agency call-girls, choose the 
work because it pays better than most other 
jobs they could get, and they have a fair 
measure of control over it. This says more 
about the paucity of women's economic 
opportunities than it does about the degra- 
dation of female sex workers. "Dancing has 
meant I could spend time with my daughter 
for the first time in her life" claims one 
working mother, a former university teach- 
ing assistant who now makes far more 
money doing three 5-hour shifts weekly in a 
strip club. Another woman who works in a 
booth, talking sex over the phone to men 
behind a glass wall, got the job after she 
found she couldn't make ends meet work- 
ing for an insurance company. 

Some women like erotic dancing and 
acting in porn movies because they enjoy 
performing or frankly admit to being ex- 
hibitionists and loving the attention they 
get. In any performing career there is the 
hazard of getting too caught up in an "ego- 
trip. " One woman commented that some 
performers begin to think of themselves 
solely in terms of their sexuality and ap- 
pearance, leading to competitive attitudes 
towards coworkers. On the other hand 
dancing allowed another woman to over- 
come feelings of inadequacy about her ap- 
pearance. "I was never a hot number with 
guys. I always felt like an ugly duckling. 
When 1 started dancing I fell in love with 
my body. Now 1 am more sexually self- 
assertive. " 

Working conditions in erotic dance clubs 
vary enormously. Some are cleaner and 
more well-kept than others. Some mana- 
gers harass the women, demanding sexual 
favors in return tor job security, while 
others leave the women pretty much 
alone as long as they show up on time. 
Sometimes women have completely dif- 

Publc Poetry #i 

Gee Spot 

See Dick Jump! 

by Linda Thomas 

About Men 

IPVP ^J%N6c£ IS?6 



ferent experiences working at the same 
place. These differences seem partly re- 
lated to a woman's level of self-esteem and 
her ability to stand up for herself. A wo- 
man who appears vulnerable is more 
likely to be harassed. 

Wages also vary. In some of the clubs, 
women get paid a straight salary for their 
shifts, and any stars make more than the 
regulars. In others, the salary is negli- 
gible; the money comes from tips. Some 
women prefer this because they make 
much more money, and some like the con- 
tact with customers. Others, however, 
hate having to talk to customers and sit 
on their laps. 

Another category of women involved in 
the sex industry is the "activists." Many 
have had careers in social work or sex 
education. One dominatrix working in the 
East Bay, for instance, rejects the classi- 
fication of "sex worker."' She believes that 
her occupation can teach men how to re- 
spect women. One woman, who has 
worked as a call girl in Marin, sees her- 
self as a "sexual healer," providing a ser- 
vice that men need, but can't get be- 
cause of repressive social attitudes. More 
recently, however, this woman has begun 
to question her own altruism, wondering 
whether identifying her job with social 
work isn't becoming a rationalization of 
problems she is becoming aware of. She 
admits to feeling degraded at times (though 
she has never been coerced in her work) 
but at times her work is a revenge against 
degradation. When she gets depressed or 
feels taken advantage of, turning a trick 
makes her feel in control and restores her 
self-esteem. The experience, which is not 
uncommon among sex workers at all levels, 
points to the complexity of the power re- 
lations in the work. Moreover, it shows 
that the male clients, too, are victimized 
by contemporary sexual morality. Women 
in the sex industry often feel that what 
drives men to pay for sexual services is 

more degrading than providing them. 

One part of the sex industry really is a 
direct product of the feminist ideals of sex- 
ual revolution — a very small, but growing 
area of the industry that could be called 
the alternative sex industry. Many people 
who work in this area do so not primarily 
for the money, but as sex educators. 

The philosophy of Good Vibrations, a 
San Francisco vibrator store that sells 
many varieties of women's sex toys, is to 
help women discover and enjoy their sex- 
uality. "We're 100 years behind men," 
asserts Suzie Bright, editor of On Our 
Backs, whose circulation, she claims, has 
jumped to 12,000 in a few years, making 
it the best-selling lesbian periodical. She 
believes women need to become more 
knowledgeable about fantasies and sex- 
uality. They need to learn how to enjoy 
porn, which includes finding sexy images 
that are not male-identified. The alterna- 
tive sex industry is trying to address 
many questions that the sexual revolution 
of the 60s and 70s left unanswered. 



This beoutifui toy is the Best Thing 
that ever happened to my sex lile 


The sex industry has been held respon- 
sible for the proliferation of sexist images 
and ideas throughout society, for women's 
victimization and exploitation, for the de- 
struction of families, and for encouraging 
rape and child-molesting. The growth of 
pornography and prostitution is held up as 
one of the nefarious consequences of the 
sexual revolution, an example of how 
dangerous loose sexual attitudes really are. 
So appealing has pom been as a target that 
it has united feminists like Andrea Dwor- 
kin (for whom the Meese Report was "a 
turning point in women's rights" [Time 
7/21/86] with right-wing fundamentalists 
who want to put women back in the home. 

Scapegoating the sex industry distracts 
the public from deeper social problems. 
What is really going on in the morality 
campaigns is an attempt to relegitimate 
traditional values. The mission of restoring 
the nuclear family as a haven of warmth 
and safety is appealing for many reasons. 
It offers a hope that we can extract our- 
selves from the complicated horrors of the 
world, it allows us to close our eyes to the 
endemic sources of violence and degra- 

Publc Poetry if2 

Spic and Span honey 
Don't you love it when 
I talk clean to you? 

by Linda Thomas 

dation in our society. Singling out the 
figure of the sex-crazed child molester, for 
example, is easier than acknowledging the 
far more pervasive routine emotional and 
physical abuse that abounds in the Ameri- 
can family. For the media, stories of psy- 
chotic sex criminals make good copy, for 
politicians, sexual fear is a political gold- 
mine. The politicians behind the resurgent 
interest in sex-busting are at least appear- 
ing to do something about the anxieties 
created by social decay. 

By deflecting fears from the real causes, 
moral panics exacerbate the anxieties they 
pretend to address. Even the most trivial 
social interactions become charged with 
fear: mothers react with panic when a 
stranger stops to pat their child on the 
head, childcare workers refrain from affec- 
tionate physical contact with the children 
in their care. Children themselves are 


taught to associate sex with fear and dan- 
ger, reinforcing sex-negative attitudes. 

Sexual license is a primary target of 
today's moral panic, and in response we 
assert our right to sexual freedom — not 
just on the grounds of free speech or pri- 
vacy, but in affirmation of the positive 
side of sexual pleasure. At the same 
time it is important to go beyond the 
sexual to understand the anxiety that is 
being tapped by the sex -busters. We need 
to focus our fear and anger on under- 
lying economic and social problems and 
not on false targets. ^ 

—b\/ Maxine Hoh 7/3 


I enjoy chokeholds and earaches myself 


Pleasures, Women Write Erotica (Harper 
& Row, 1984), Lonnie Barbach, ed. 
A History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Intro- 
duction, by Michel Foucault, trans. Robert 
Hurley, (New York, Pantheon, 1978). 

"Thinking Sex' by Gayle Rubin in Plea- 
sure and Danger: Exploring Women's 
Sexuality; (Boston and London, Routledge 
and Kegan Paul, 1984). Carol Vance, editor. 

"Pleasure and Danger: Towards a Politics 
of Sex" by Carol Vance in Pleasure and 
Danger, op cit. 

Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, 
Myths and Modem Sexualities (Routledge 
and Kegan Paul, 1985) by Jeffrey Weeks. 
On Our Backs, Entertainment for the Ad- 
venturous Lesbian, PO Box 421916, San 
Francisco, CA 94142. 

Re-Making Love, The Feminization of Sex 
by Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess and 
Gloria Jacobs (Anchor Press /Doubleday, 

U.S. Prostitutes Collective 
P.O. Box 14512 
San Francisco, CA 94114 
P.O. Box 26345 
San Francisco, CA 



A quick and dirty guide to "Anxious Pleasures; the Sexual 
Lives of an Amazonian People" by Thomas Gregor (U of 
Chicago Press, 1985). 

Prior to entering the village, the returning fisherman selects the 
best fish from the catch and arranges for a boy to bring it to his 
lover's hut. He cautions the child to give the woman the fish 
when her husband is not around. "A sexually active woman is 
therefore a recognized economic asset in her family." 

"There is little shame about sexual desire, and children will 
tick off the names of their parents' many extramarital lovers." 
There were 20 men and 17 women in the village when Gregor 
visited, and he counted approximately 88 extramarital affairs 
during this time, with the average man engaging in 4.4 affairs. 
(The range for men was from 1 to 10 affairs, with most men 
having close to the average number.) For women the average 
was almost the same, but the range was much greater. 
Three women had no extramarital affairs while one woman had 
11 and another 14. The villager's "taste for extramarital 
liaisons" is only limited by social barriers such as the incest 
taboo. However, the frequency of sexual contact within such 
liaisons is relatively low due to taboos on having sex at cer- 
tain times, the lack of privacy, "competition from jealous hus- 
bands and more attractive rivals, and especially by the dif- 
ficulty of finding a willing female partner." 

For the Mehinaku Indians of the Amazon, fish is the main 
source of animal protein. While Mehinaku women grow and 
prepare manioc root, the staple of the Mehinaku diet, only 
the men 'go on long fishing trips. When a Mehinaku man re- 
turns from a successful trip, he is "proclaimed by a tremen- 
dous whoop from all the men." His wife then makes a special 
fish stew and sends part of it to her in-laws and relatives in other 

Sex is everywhere a seller's market with women doing the 
selling. It is always easier for a woman to find a sexual partner 
(provided she is not old, ugly, or sick) than it is for a man. Males 
have "a higher level of sexual interest than females." This is the 
result of three conditions: the higher level of androgens in males, 
the fact that some women do not have orgasms and, possibly, 
that men require a lower level of sexual stimulation to become 

Mehinaku males initiate sexual encounters by "importuning, 
gifts, and verbal coercion." This may be because they are poor 
lovers. With few exceptions, they do not engage in foreplay, 
and there is no word in their language for female orgasm. In 
fact, it is not certain that Mehinaku women have orgasms. 

Mehinaku men spend most of their time with other men, es- 
pecially in the men s house which no woman can ever enter. 
The penalty for a woman's entering or looking into the men's 
house, or viewing the sacred flutes kept there, is gang rape. Al- 
though the last reported gang rape took place around 1940 and 
most men said they would not report on their closest female kin 
if they discovered them in a violation of the taboo, women live 
with the very real threat of rape. 


If Mehinaku women are afraid of male violence, Mehinaku 
men are even more afraid of women. According to their myths, 
women in ancient times were the keepers of the sacred flutes, 
the founders of what is now the men's house, and the inven- 
tors of architecture, clothes, and religion; while men lived like 
wild animals in a separate village. Eventually, the men attacked 
the women's village, raped them, stole their artifacts, and took 
control of the men's house. Thus the Mehinaku do not justify 
their patriarchal situation in terms of religious revelation or na- 
tural male superiority. For them, male power is based on brute 
force. Nonetheless, the legend reveals that "the men's house as a 
symbol of male identity is a citadel of papier-mache." The 
price men pay for maintaining it, he says, is "anxiety: fear of 
their own sexual impulses and fear of women." 


My Date 

Holly S^ear 

eaxt pounding, I walked up the steps to Holly's 
apartment and rang her doorbell. Even as I stood out- 
side the door, despite my nervousness, I could feel 
that special warmth that is Holly's own. The door 
opened and there was Holly, smiling of course, looking 
just like her pictures: gentle, strong, tender, sensitive, 
committed. I'm so glad you're here, she smiled, hug- 
ging me warmly. I smiled back. She smiled even more 
warmly. We stood in the foyer, smiling at each other. 
Doesn't it feel good to smile? smiled HoUy. There is 
strength in women's laughter, 1 smiled back. 

Could it really be true? Could I really be here, on a date 
with Holly Kcar? I pinched myself to make sure it was all 
really happening. Already 1 felt so calm and comfortable, it 
must be true. I could hardly tcU exactly what it was that 
HoUy was wearing, each earth tone blended so imperceptibly 
into the next. I stepped forward and bumped right into HoUy 
(against the earth tone decor of her apartment she was al- 
most Invisible). We laughed happily, two women together, 
yes, together, in spite of everything. 

Come in, come in, laughed HoUy, and we walked into her 
living room together. Would you like some tea? she smUed. 
Of course, HoUy, if It's not too much trouble, I blushed. 
Trouble? HoUy's laugh wafted out from the kitchen like 
muted guitar notes. She walked in carrying two earth tone 
mugs. Our sisters are struggUng against injustice and op- 
pression throughout the world and you think making tea is 
trouble? Ah, how we North American white feminists are 
bUnded by our privilege. I felt my face grow hot, my blush 
grow deeper. How could I have been so insensitive? As 
tears welled up in my eyes, I felt two strong gentle arms 
surround me. Have some tea, HoUy murmured. I took the 
cup from her hands and drank. The tea was sweet, strong, 
gentle, warm, just like HoUy. There is strength in women's 


pain, Holly said, gently but firmly. Let's not turn it inwards. 
Let's take hold of our rage and use it to change the world. 
Let's start fighting right now! HoUy's eyes flashed and she 
pulled me close to her. Ann-Marie, let's sing! We are cultural 
workers! We must be tlie voice of those who have no voice! 
WTiat a moment! What a woman! She began to sing and her 
sweet, warm, powerful, soothing voice made my cars start to 
ring. WTiat songs she sang, her own of course, unmistakcably 
so, so sweet, so universal, so vague, so unthreatcning, so un- 
spccific, so charmingly feminine! I gazed at her, dazzled, 
feeling something so strong, so comforting, a feeling I al- 
most recognized but couldn't quite name, and whispered, 
HoUy, you're so... so... so wimpy. She smiled warmly and 
breathed. There is safety in wimplncss, and pressed her 
mouth to mine. We kissed. My head spim. The feeUng was 
growing ever more overpowering, confusing, indescribeable. 
Oh, HoUy, HoUy, I gasped. My head fell back, my eyehds 
fluttered, my Ups parted, my body shuddered and con- 
vulsed in the most intense, overwhelming yawn of my entire 
Ufe. I passed out. 

WTien I came to, I was back in my own room, in my own 
bed. Could it aU have been a beautiful dream? I ran down- 
stairs. There were aU my housemates in the kitchen. Ann- 
Marie, god, we thought you'd never wake up, you've been 
sleeping for five days straight. In fact after HoUy paid the 
cab driver and carried you into your room, we aU just felt so 
nice and sleepy we went right to bed. Pat didn't even make 
it into her bedroom, she conked out on the stairs. HoUy 
carried me in? I whispered. Five days ago? Did she... did 
she...? Yeah, she left this autographed picture for you. I 
could hardly bcUcve it, but there it was! To .\nn-Marie, in 
struggle, love, HoUy. As I stared at the photo I felt my eye- 
lids growing heavy and THE E]¥D? 

My Date With Holly Near was originally puhlisbed in 

Shoe Polish Week, a)i uproarious newsletter available from ff^/ 

795 Garfield Piace #2-L. Brooklyn. SY 11215. 



Excerpt from Devil On The Cross by 
Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiongo. 

Thiongo was jailed by the Kenyan go- 
vernment in the 70s for his radical plays 
and stories. This novel was written in 
prison and published when he was released. 


ake a girl like me/ Wariinga 
said, gazing down at one spot as if 
she were talking to herself. 'Or take 
any other girl in Nairobi. Let's call 
her Mahua Kareendi. Let's assume 
that she was born in a village or in 
the heart of the countryside. Her edu- 
cation is limited. Or let's say, per- 
haps, that she has passed CPE and has 
gone to a high school. Let's even 
assume that it is a good school and 
not like those Haraambe schools 
where the poor pay good money 
even when the classrooms boast no 

'Before she reaches Form Two, Kareendi 
has had it. She is pregnant.' 

'Who is responsible?' 

A student, say. The student doesn't 
have a cent to his name. Their friend- 
ship has been a matter of lending each 
other novels by James Hadley Chase, 
Charles Mangua or David Maillu. It has 
been a question of singing songs from the 
records of Jim Reeves or of D.K. or of 
Lawrence Nduru. Kareendi, where can 
you turn now? 

On the other hand, we could imagine 
that the man responsible for the preg- 
nancy is a loafer from the village. The 
loafer is jobless. He hasn't even a place 
to lay his head. Their love affair has been 

sustained by guitar playing and evening 
dances in the village. It has been con- 
ducted in borrowed huts or in the open 
fields after dark. Little Kareendi, where 
will you turn? The baby will need food 
and clothes. 

Perhaps the loafer has a job in the 
city, but his salary is five shillings a 
month. Their love has been nourished by 
Bruce Lee and James Bond films — by five 
minutes in a cheap hotel on their way home 
by matutu. Who will wipe away Kareen- 
di's tears now? 

Or let's say that a rich man is the father 
of the child. Isn't that kind of affair the 
fashion these days? The rich man has a 
wife. The affair has been a question of a 
rendezvous in a Mercedes-Benz on a Sun- 
day. It has been fuelled by small amounts 
of cash that Kareendi has received as 
pocket money before returning to school. 
It has been lubricated by hard liquor 
drunk in hotels far away from the village. 

Student, loafer, rich man — their re- 
sponse is the same when Kareendi tells 
them about her condition: "What! Kareen- 
di, who are you claiming is responsible 
for the pregnancy? Me? How have you 
worked that out? Go on and pester some- 
one else with your delusions, Kareendi 
of the easy thighs, ten-cent Kareendi. You 
can cry uiitil your tears have filled oil 
drums — it will make no difference... 
Kareendi, you can't collect pregnancies 
wherever you may and then lay them at 
my door just because one day I happened 
to tease you!" 

Say Kareendi needs no borrowed 
tongue. She stands there, arms akimbo, 
and lashes out at yesterday's sweetheart. 
"You think you are sugar itself? I'd rather 
drink tea without sugar. You imagine that 
you're a bus? I'd rather walk. You think 
you are a house? I'd prefer to sleep in the 

open air. Or the bed itself, perhaps? I 
choose the floor. I've lost my faith in 
silken-tongued gigolos." But Kareendi is 
only trying to put a brave face on things. 
Inside, her heart is dancing with rage. 

Let's say Kareendi refuses to take drugs. 
It is appalling that babies should emerge 
from their mothers' wombs as corpses. 
Kareendi has the baby. And she doesn't 
throw it into a latrine pit, nor does she 
abandon it at the roadside or in a bus. 
Nor does she leave it in the forest or on a 
rubbish tip. Kareendi places on the shoul- 
ders of her mother or her grandmother 
the burden of bringing up this baby, 
who has come into this world in spite of 
the fact that her parents have neither wel- 
comed nor prepared for her arrival. But 
Kareendi's mother and grandmother warn 
the girl not to make a habit of this: "Be on 
your guard from now on, Kareendi. Do 
not forget that men have stings, vicious 
and corrosive, the poison of which never 
leaves the flesh of their victims." 

And Kareendi now knows only too 
well that no one repents on account of 
another's sins. There is no one who re- 
grets the going as much as the returning. 
To be smiled at is not to be loved. So 
Kareendi bites her lips decisively and goes 
back to school. She makes steady progress 
and reaches Form Four. She sits the Cam- 
bridge or School Certificate and she gets 
her EACH, a certificate to indicate that 
she has passed in English, Swahili and 

So far so good. 

But problems don't have wings to bear 
them away. Once again Kareendi's parents 
have to dig into their pockets. They pull 
out the cents that they have been saving, 
the stick put by in reserve in case they 
should meet a rat unexpectedly — and now 
just such a rat has appeared. They speedily 



enroll Kareendi at the Nairobi Secretarial 
College so that she can learn typing and 
shorthand. At the end of nine 
months Kareendi can pound a typewriter, 
thirty-five words a minute, and she is now 
an expert at shorthand — she has reached 
the speed of eighty words a minute. The 
language of the eye is not the language of 
the ear. Typing and shorthand: Pitman's 
certificates for the two skills are in Kareen- 
di's pocket. 

Kareendi now tramps all over Nairobi 
looking for a job. Armed with her Pit- 
mans skills, she enters one office after 
another. In one she finds Mr. Boss, who 
leans back in his chair for greater comfort. 
He eyes Kareendi from top to toe. "What 
do you want? A job? / see. I'm very busy 
right now. Let's meet at five." Kareendi 
waits impatiently for the hour to come. 
She rushes back to the office, panting. 
Now Mr. Boss smiles at her, and he offers 
her a chair, and he asks her what her 
names are, the one she was given at birth 
and her acquired English one, and he in- 
quires into the things that are troubling 
her, and he listens with attentive patience. 
Then Mr. Boss taps the desk top with 
his finger or with a pen, saying, "Ah, 
Kareendi, jobs are very hard to come by 
these days. But a girl like you ... it 
shouldn't be too difficult to find something 
for you to do. But, Kareendi, a matter like 
this can't be finalized in the office. Let's 
go across to the Modern Love Bar and 
Lodging to discuss the question more 
fully. " But Kareendi recalls the venomous 
stings of her early years: he who has seen 
once knows thereafter, and he who has 
drunk from a calabash can gauge its size. 
So Kareendi declines all invitations to 
meetings at hotels designed for love, old- 
fashioned or modern. The next day she is 
still combing the city for a job. 

She enters another office. She finds 
there another Mr. Boss. The smiles are the 
sam.e, the questions are the same, the ren- 
dezvous is the same— and the target is still 
Kareendi s thighs. The Modem Love Bar 
and Lodging has become the main em- 
ployment bureau for girls, and women's 
thighs are the tables on which contracts 
are signed. A maiden once drowned in a 
sea of sweetness. Our new Kenya, how- 
ever, sings only one song to Kareendi: 

Sister Kareendi, the case of a fool takes a 
long time to settle. Sister Kareendi, every 
court session opens with feasting. Sister 
Kareendi, no man licks an empty hand. 
Take care of me, and I will take care of 
you. Modern problems are resolved with 
the aid of thighs. He who wishes to sleep 
is the one who is anxious to make the bed. 

Kareendi is determined to make no 
beds: she would rather leave her case un- 
settled. And because God is truly no ugali 
eater, one morning Kareendi lands a job 
without having to visit any hotel for mo- 
dem love. Mr. Boss Kihara is the managing 
director of the firm. He is middle-aged. 
He has a wife and several children. On 
top of that, he is a member of the com- 
mittee that runs the Church of Heaven. 
Kareendi carries out her office duties 

Before a month is up, Kareendi finds 
herself a Kamoongonye.' The young man 
is a university student. He holds modern, 
progressive views. When Kareendi con- 
fesses to him that she has a child at home, 
Kamoongonye silences her with kisses of 
love. He tells Kareendi: "A child is not a 
leopard, capable of wounding people. Be- 
sides, giving birth is proof that you're 
not a mule! " Hearing this, Kareendi weeps 
tears of happiness. Then and there, she 
swears loyalty, with all her heart: "Be- 
cause I am very lucky, and I have looked 
for and found a Kamoongonye, a young 
man with modern views, I, Kareendi, will 
never anger him or argue with him over 
any issue. If he shouts at me, I will re- 
main silent. I will simply look down like 
the shy leopard or like a lamb cropping 
grass. I will help him with his keep so that 
he can finish his education without trouble 
or delay and so that together we can riake 
a home that has solid roots. I will never 
look at another." 

The other girls, Kareendi's friends, envy 
her, and they offer her bits and pieces of 
advice: "Kareendi, you'd better change 
your ways: the seeds in the gourd are not 
all of the same type," they tell her. 
Kareendi replies: A restless child leaves 

* Kamoongonye is a character in a Gikuyu 
ballad about a young girl whose father wants 
her to marry Waigoko, a rich old man with a 
hairy chest, while she prefers her own choice, 
a poor young man, Kamoongonye. 

home in search of meat just as a goat is 
about to be slaughtered."" But the girls 
tell her: "Friend, this is a new Kenya. 
Everyone should set something aside to 
meet tomorrow's needs. He who saves a 
little food will never suffer from hunger." 
She replies: "Too much eating ruins the 
stomach. " They taunt her: "A restricted 
diet is monotonous. " Kareendi rejects this 
and tells them: "A borrowed necklace 
may lead to the loss of ones own. ' 

Now, just as Kareendi is thinking that 
her life is running very smoothly, Mr. 
Boss Kihara begins to sound her out with 
carefully chosen words. One day he comes 
into her office. He stands by her type- 
writer, and he pretends to examine the 
sheets of paper that Kareendi has typed. 
He says: "By the way. Miss Kareendi, 
what are your plans for this weekend!" 
1 would like you to accompany me on a 
small safari — what do you say to thatl" 
Kareendi declines politely. Rejection 
wrapped in civility arouses no ill feelings. 
Too much haste splits the yam. One 
month later, he again accosts Kareendi in 
the office. "Miss Kareendi, this evening 
there's a cocktail party at the Paradise 
Club." Once again Kareendi disguises her 
refusal with polite phrases. 

The day comes when Boss Kihara rea- 
sons with himself in this way: The hunter 
who stalks his prey too stealthily may 
frighten it off in the end. Begging calls 
for constantly changing tactics. Bathing in- 
volves removing all one's clothes. So he 
confronts Kareendi boldy. "By the way. 
Miss Kareendi, I've got a lot of work to 
do today. There is a pile of letters to 
be answered, all very important and very 
urgent. I would like you to stay behind in 
the office after five o'clock. The firm will 
pay you overtime." 

Kareendi waits. Five o'clock. Boss Ki- 
hara is in his office, drafting the letters, 
perhaps. Six o'clock. Everyone else has 
gone home. Boss Kihara calls for Kareen- 
di. He asks her to take a seat so that 
they can talk. After a minute or two. 
Boss Kihara stands up and sits on the 
edge of his desk. He smiles slyly. Kareen- 
di now finds her tongue. Please, Mr. Boss, 
do dictate the letters to me now. I was 
planning to go out this evening, and it's 
getting dark.' 



"Don't worry, Kareendi. If it gets late, 
I will give you a lift home in my car." 

"Thank you, but I really don't want 
to inconvenience you," Kareendi answers 
levelly, to hide her irritation. 

"Oh, it will be no trouble at all. I could 
even ring home to instruct my personal 
chauffeur to collect you and drive you to 
your place." 

"I enjoy travelling by bus. Please — 
where are the letters? 

Boss Kihara leans slightly towards 
Kareendi. A certain light is shining in 
his eyes. He drops his voice. 

"Kareendi, darling, mine are letters dic- 
tated by the heart." 

"By the heart, did you say?" Kareendi 
asks quickly, pretending not to understand 
the implication of his words. "Is it wise 
for you to dictate such letters to an' em- 
ployee? Wouldn't it be better for you to 
type them yourself, so that the secrets 

of your heart will not be read by some- 
one for whom they are not intended?" 

"Beautiful Kareendi, flower of my heart. 
No one but you can type them. For I want 
to send them care of the address of your 
heart, by the post of your heart, to be 
read by the eyes of your heart, there- 
after to be kept within your heart, sealed 
there forever and ever. And you when you 
receive the letters, I beg you, don't write 
Return to sender. Darling, flower of my 
heart, see how my love for you has weak- 
ened me?" 

"Mr. Boss, sir, please ....'" Kareendi tries 
to slip in a word. One part of her is 
scared as she sees how Boss Kihara is 
panting. But another part of her feels 
like laughing when she contrasts the words 
that are tumbling from the Boss's mouth 
with the bright, shining bald patch on his 
head. Kareendi is searching for words that 
will put this old man to shame: "Sup- 

pose your wife heard you saying such 
things! What would you do?" 

"She doesn't count. One doesn't use 
scentless perfume when going to a dance. 
Please, Kareendi, little fruit of my heart, 
listen to me carefully so that I may tell 
you beautiful things. I will rent a house 
for you on Furaha Leo Estate, or in the 
city centre, Kenyatta Avenue, or any 
other part of the city. Choose any flat or 
house you like. I will have the place 
decorated with furniture, carpets, mat- 
tresses, curtains from Paris, London, Ber- 
lin, Rome, New York, Tokyo, Stockholm 
or Hong Kong. Imported furniture and 
household goods. I will buy you clothes, 
for I want you in the latest fashions from 
Oxford Street, London, or from the hautre 
couture houses of Paris. High heels and 
platform shoes will come from Rome, 
Italy. When you step out in those shoes 
which you people have nicknamed 'no- 
destination-why-should-I-hurry?" I want 
everyone in Nairobi to turn around and 
whistle with envy, saying: That is Boss 
Kihara 's sugar girl. If these pleasures last, 
if you keep me happy with all earthly 
delights, I will buy you a small basket for 
the market, for shopping, or for jaunts on 
a Sunday — I think an Alfa Romeo is the 
kind of car that would be fitting for a 
bride. Kareendi, my little fruit, my little 
orange, flower of my heart, come to me 
and say bye-bye to poverty..." 

Kareendi is now holding back her laugh- 
ter with great difficulty. She says to him: 
"Mr. Boss, please may I ask you one ques- 

"Ask a thousand and one!" 

'Are you saying that you want to 
marry me?" 

"Ah! Why are you pretending not to 
understand the way things are? Can't you 
see that... My little fruit, be mine now, 
be my girl." 

"No. I have never wanted affairs with 
my bosses]" 

"My little fruit, what are you afraid of?" 

"Besides, I wouldn't want to break up 
your home. A borrowed necklace may 
make a person lose his ov^." 

"Didn't I tell you that one doesn't go to 
a dance wearing old, scentless perfume? 
Kareendi, my new necklace, my tomato 
plant growing on the rich soil of an aban- 
doned homestead! What are you afraid of? 
What is the problem?" 

"I have a Kamoongonye, a young 

"Hal Kareendi, don't make me laugh. 
Are you really so old-fashioned! Are you 
talking about one of those boys who pre- 
tend to be men? Those boys, are they 
even circumcised?" 

'The yam that one has dug up for one- 
self has no mouldy patches. The sugar 
cane that one has picked out has no un- 
ripe edges. Those whom one loves do 
not squint. The young man who you claim 
is uncircumcised is my chosen one." 



"Kareendi, listen. I'll tell you some- 
thing," Boss Kihara says to her, panting. 
He gets off the table. He comes closer to 
Kareendi. "These days the question of a 
choice between Waigoko, the man with 
the hairy chest, and Kamoongonye, the 
young lover, is no longer valid. Waigoko's 
hairy chest has been shaved by money... 
But because it is true that the heart is 
hungry only for what it has chosen, I 
won't press the matter of your becoming 
my mistress. You have refused a nice 
house. You have refused expensive clothes. 
And you have refused a shopping basket. 
^1 right. As you like. But allow me this 
one request. Don't refuse me." 

"Aren't you a member of the Church 
of Heaven? Do you ever read the Bible? 
When you go home, read Romans, Chap- 
ter XIII, line fourteen: 'Make not provision 
for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof...'" 

"But in the same book it is also written: 
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and 
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you: For everyone that 
asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh, 
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall 
be opened...' My little fruit, my love, we 
need not even bother with accommo- 
dation. This office floor is adequate. If 
these offices could talk, they would tell 
many tales. A smooth cement floor makes 
a fantastic bed. It straightens the back and 
all the bones of the spinal cord right up 
the neck." 

"I don't want my back straightened!" 
Kareendi snaps back, concealing her anger 
no longer. 

Boss Kihara now tries to embrace 
Kareendi. The two nearly trip over the 
chair. Kareendi gets up, hangs her hand- 
bag over one shoulder and begins to walk 
backwards. Boss Kihara reaches for her. 
They circle one another in the office as 
if they were dancing the dance of the hun- 

ter and the hunted. Boss Kihara has aban- 
doned all pretense at dignity. 

And suddenly Boss Kihara pounces on 
Kareendi. One hand holds Kareendi by the 
waist. The other tries to feel for her body. 
Kareendi attempts to free herself from the 
man's grip, at the same time beating her 
fists on his chest and also trying vainly 
to open her handbag to take out the fold- 
ing knife she normally carries. The sound 
of their heavy breathing fills the office. 
Kareendi senses that she is about to be 
overcome. Suddenly she forgets that this 
is her Boss and cries out: "If you don't 
let me go, I will shout for help!" 

Boss Kihara pauses. He remembers his 
wife and children. He recalls that often 
on Sundays he is the one who reads the 
Bible at the altar in the Church of Heaven, 
and that from time to time he gives talks 
at weddings, advising newlyweds about 
the need for parents and children to live 
together in love and harmony. He recalls 
all these things simultaneously. He ima- 
gines the scorn of the whole country if he 
were charged with raping his secretary. 
The fire suddenly dies. Ardour retreats. 
He releases Kareendi. He takes a handker- 
chief from his pocket and wipes away the 
sweat. He looks at Kareendi. He tries to 
say something, then he stops. He is try- 
ing to find words to save his face. He tries 
to laugh, but the laughter fades. For the 
sake of saying something he asks: "Does 
this mean, Kareendi, that at home nobody 
teases you? Anyway, don't jump to hasty 
conclusions. This was only a joke between 
father and daughter. Go home now. You'd 
better do the letters early tomorrow mor- 

Kareendi goes home, still thinking about 
the joke between father and daughter. 
How well she knows that joke. It's a joke 
between a leopard and a goat... 

In the morning Kareendi comes to work 

as usual. She is five minutes late. She finds 
that Boss Kihara has already arrived. Boss 
Kihara summons her to his office. Karren- 
di goes in. She feels a little awkward as 
she recalls their struggle last night. But 
Boss Kihara does not even raise his eyes 
from his newspaper. 

"Miss Kareendi, it looks as though 
you're your own boss these days." 

"I am sorry, sir. The bus was late." 

Now Boss Kihara looks up from the 
newspaper. He leans back in his chair. 
He fixes Kareendi with a look full of bit- 

"Why can't you admit that the trouble 
is the rides you are offered by young men? 
Miss Kareendi, it seems as though you 
don't much care for work. I feel I should 
let you follow the promptings of your 
heart. It would be better for you to go 
home for a while. If ever you feel that 
you need work, as other girls do, I 
haven't closed the door. Take this month's 
salary and next month's too in lieu of 
notice. " 

Our Kareendi now has no job. Once 
again she roams the streets in search of 
work. She goes home to sorrow in si- 
lence. She sits in her room until evening, 
waiting for her young man. Her heart 
pulses to the rhythm of happiness as she 
recalls the sound of her young lover's 
voice. Everyone cares about those whom 
he loves. Her Kamoongonye will give her 
strength to endure this sorrow through 
words of love. At long last Kamoongonye 
comes home. Kareendi pours out the 
whole story of Waigoko, whose bearded 
chest has been shaved by money. There 
is no greater love than this, that a modem 
girl should reject Waigoko's money be- 
cause of Kamoongonye! Kareendi finishes 
her story. She waits for a sympathetic 
sigh. She anticipates kisses that willj^rush 
away her tears. 




I eterosexism is alive and well as it 
glares upon forms of sexuality which 
are not the romantic, monogamous, 
heterosexual idea. In spite of this 
"ideal," and legal and cultural sanc- 
tions against "deviancy," women 
throughout our country continue to 
offer sexual services for cash. Count- 
less men flock to women who'll give 
them emotional validation through 
erotic release, and as a relief from 
themselves, in exchange for money. 

Two of the most empowering things to 
a majority of men in our society are sex 
and money. Sex is a commodity to the 
male psyche. For many, paying cash for 
erotic attention is part of the ritual in 
receiving such pleasure. 

Why are men compelled, as well as en- 
couraged, to go to sex workers? Many 
men don't know how to relate to women 
with their clothes on. They fear the ego- 
smashing episodes of rejection. Males de- 
sire and want women to take responsi- 
bility for giving and receiving pleasure. 
They feel more free to explore sexual 
fantasies with willing, anonymous women. 
They don't want sex to be "too serious," 
and they don't have the time, energy or 
emotion for a relationship. 

One might consider prostitutes, in gene- 
rations before and after the industrial 
revolution, as unproclaimed, undeclared 
feminists. They didn't leap into marriage 
or find reproduction their highest calling; 
they didn't become or want to be pure-and- 
holy; they didn't join convents. They re- 
mained emotionally independent of men. 
They still do. 

To say that all sex workers/prostitutes 
have a feminist awareness is, of course, as 
flawed as stating that all women lawyers 
work in feminist terms. To say that all 
or most prostitutes were victims of incest. 

child abuse, or male brutality is also as 
much a mistake as saying that most fe- 
male nurses choose their profession out of 
suffering the loss of their parents at an 
early age, and because of this trauma some 
of them developed a fetish for giving ene- 

Some people formed careers in "pros- 
titution " in the various ways which are 
legal. This includes audio-erotic tape re- 
cordings, skin-flicks or sex-movies, model- 
ing for private, nude photography sessions, 
entertaining for stag parties, or dancing 
and undulating in the now popular male 
strip shows. 

They work in 'peep shows" — nude in 
cubicles on the other side of the one-way 
mirror for the anonymous men speaking 
to them on the telephone. They pose their 
bodies to titilate the readers of Playgirl 
and Playboy type magazines. They talk 
"dirty" to the men and women who "Dial- 

Society shuts its eyes to the fact that 
more than likely, the man or woman who 
works as this kind of 'telephone solicitor' 
may occasionally make personal and sexual 
contact with persons who call. They may 
have sex with a caller out of mutual desire 
and curiosity, or simply for money. 

Another misconception myth is in men 
and women's delusion that female sex 
workers are constantly wanton and exu- 
ding erotic passion. But prostitutes do not 
"have to" have orgasms nor are they es- 
pecially expected to. This is like demand- 
ing that a bartender get drunk with you! 
A sex worker's passion is infrequently 
requested. Many sex workers may put on 
an "act" and "fake it" in order that a 
"customer's" request be satisfied. Most 
often, however, a woman will pretend 
rapture-orgasm to get him excited and 
"off, " and out the door, just as thousands 
of wives do all the time! 

The strange paradox is that doing sex 
for money or gifts or trade is not in itself 
illegal. Wives and partners of men do it 
all the time! It"s been going on forever! It 
is the soliciting and selling, the verbal 
mention and offerings of sex for money, 
which is illegal. Thanks to Puritanism 
and religious dogma barking for centuries, 
this is a (victimless) ""crime." 

Women who prostitute sex — sell it, rent 
it, use it to make money on their own be- 
half and without pimps or agents — do so 
for many reasons. Throughout the world 
women have worked outside male con- 
trolled, legally sanctioned, socially accep- 
table ways. 

To make and have money — ready cash 
— is the top-line reason for doing prosti- 
tution work. For some, being a sex worker 
is empowering; for another it is simply a 
means to an end — survival. 

To another it may be contempt for this 
economic system and certainly a quick, if 
not easy, way to make money. For many 
women it is their manifested disgust to- 
wards the kinds of employment and wages 
extended to women. Many women hang 
up a useless college degree and go into 
prostitution work. 

Whatever the reasons — all valid — pros- 
titution work is an opportunity for women 
to take a dominant role working on their 
terms, on their territory, under their con- 
ditions, and within their direction. They 
most assuredly relish the comfort of not 
having to contend with abusive employers 
or male bosses propositioning them for 
sex — for ""free," of course. 

Sex workers across the spectrum do not 
so much exploit their bodies and gender 
as they exploit the double standard, sexual 
repression, hypocrisy, homophobia, men's 
sexual fears, and men"s awe of female 
sexuality. ""Whores" and "'madonnas" don't 
really exist. "Wicked" women are created 
out of society and the human mind. 

— by Clitora E. Cummings j'l 

BACKVUORDS LOGIC k. Att Bacic.r-as » .5 

How TO Ktw lovi'i .stenr sionts 



was broke. Dead busted. I needed a 
job— fast. And the first that came a- 
long was at the Back Door Theater, 
"Parking and Entrance in the Rear — 
for Your Privacy." My friend Russell 
was working there, and he got me a 
job after one of his fellow employees 
passed out on the pool table at the bar 
next to the theater during a shift. 

Calling the Back Door (BD) a "theater" 
was something of a misnomer. It consisted 
of a restroom, lobby, projection platform/ 
cashier booth, and a seating area which 
the staff referred to as "the pit." It was all 
crammed into a 16 foot by 60 foot store- 

My turf was the projection /cashier 
booth. It contained a couple of broken- 
down chairs, a cash register, two dilapi- 
dated 16mm projectors, "Little Roscoe" (a 
.38 caliber revolver so dirty it would 
probably have blown up had it been fired). 

and a TV set which was used heavily, 
as the entire staff— all three of us— found 
watching it less boring than watching the 
BD's films. 

The films were pretty crude. My first 
glimpse of them came the day I was hired. 
I stepped up to the projection platform, 
peered through the viewing port between 
projectors, and saw a "cum shot" — a man 
coming all over a woman's face. I was 
dumfounded. I couldn't believe that any- 
one would actually pay to see such things. 

But pay they did — five bucks a pop. The 
Back Door's patrons came in all shapes 
and sizes: young men, old men, chicano 
men, white men, black men, and above 
all, greasy white-shoed businessmen. Well 
over 90% of the Back Door's customers were 
male, and, of those, at least half were into 
the $13-haircut level of awareness. 

The female customers were of two types. 
One consisted of denim-clad, leather- 
booted dykes and their ultra-femme girl- 
friends; the other, more common, type 
consisted of bored housewives with hub- 
bies in tow — people apparently willing to 

try anything to spice up humdrum sex 

My friend Ralph the butcher (he was an 
actual butcher— he hadn't "served" in Viet- 
nam) would drop by the theater from time 
to time, and when such couples walked in, 
he made it a point to sit behind them and 
listen to their conversations. Ralph report- 
ed that the most typical comment was: "He 
can last for ten minutes. How come you 
can't even last twoll" 

I couldn't see how the customers man- 
aged to last two minutes in the theater. It 
was a pit. The restroom was, arguably, 
the most disgusting portion of the prem- 
ises. It was covered with gross, sexist graf- 
fiti such as, "Please don't jack off in this 
toilet, it's already had three abortions," 
and "The difference between toilets and 
women is that toilets don't follow you 
around after you've used them." On a 
couple of occasions some (literal) jerk 
jacked off against the wall, drew an arrow 
toward the gooey mess, and added the 
half-witticism, "Eat me." And on one oc- 
casion, my friend Joe Blues walked into 
the lobby and observed a crewcut, 300- 



pound redneck flogging his dolphin in the 
John blissfully unaware that the restroom 
door was wide open. 

The lobby was another gem. Its floor 
was covered with cheap red shag carpet, 
its walls with red fake-velvet wallpaper, 
and its ceiling with black glitter paint. Its 
contents consisted of a coke machine, a 
cigarette machine, and a sand-filled toilet 
subtly labelled "asstray." 

But the heart of the Back Door was the 
pit, the seating area. It was a 16 by 45 foot 
room with a screen made of two pieces of 
painted sheet rock at one end with seats 
extending from the other to about eight 
feet from the screen. The seats were de- 
scribed as "reclining airplane seats" in the 
theater's advertising. Sounds really comfy, 
doesn't it? Well, the seats probably were 
comfortable when they were new. By the 
time 1 started working at the Back Door 
they could well have been the breeding 
ground of black plague. They obviously 
hadn't been cleaned since the Back Door 
opened, and at least two-thirds of them 
had gaping holes in their upholstery. The 
ashtrays in their armrests were continually 
overflowing as we employees felt it be- 
neath ourselves to clean them out. And 
the BD's customers found the cracks be- 
tween the cushions and the holes in the 
upholstery convenient receptacles for their 
soggy kleenex and handkerchiefs. The 
floor of the pit made one's shoes go 
"shmuck, shluck, shlurp "; it was coated 
with a mixture composed of spilled coke, 
cigarette butts, the remnants of used kleen- 
ex, and god knows what else. 

Shortly after 1 started working at the 
theater, I walked into the pit in the middle 
of a film. While there, I was surprised to 
hear a long hissssss. .After closing up 
that night, I went back into the seating 
area and found the source. The owner of 
the Back Door had installed timing de- 
vices coupled to aerosol cans; the cans 
sprayed a combination deodorant /disin- 
fectant over the seats for a few seconds 
every hour. It was a token gesture. True 
disinfection would have required use of a 

I had another surprise the first time I 
walked into the pit during the noon rush 
and observed the midday crowd. There 
they sat, white shoes gleaming in the dark- 
ness, eyes riveted to the screen, hands riv- 
eted to their pants. 1 was expecting that. 
What I wasn't expecting was that they 
would all be sitting neatly, row upon row, 
an empty seat on either side of every one 
of them — viewer, empty seat, viewer, 
empty seat, etc. — totally absorbed in the 
spectacle on the screen. It was one of the 
loneliest, most pathetic scenes I've ever 

Another feature of customer behavior 
which initially surprised me was the fre- 
quent visit to the restroom before leaving 
the theater. After 1 figured that one out — 
it took me about two hours — I began to 


For 50 years I hove surreptitiously slithered 
naked across my linoleum floors 

dread my nightly janitorial duties. (Judg- 
ing from customer behavior at the Back 
Door, the slogan "Porn is the theory, rape 
is the practice " is dead wrong. A more re- 
alistic slogan would be 'Pom is the theory, 
pocket pool is the practice.") 

The films which provoked such behav- 
ior were sick jokes. They were low-budget, 
Los Angeles-based productions of the 
"pole'n'hole" variety with an occasional 
bit of lesbian action thrown in for divers- 
ity. The plots (when they existed at all), 
acting, direction, lighting, photography, 
sound, and editing were of a quality which 
made the average episode of The Dukes of 
Hazard look like Citizen Kane in compari- 
son. As for violence, there was very little 
in the films shown by the Back Door; my 
guess is that no more than about one in 
twenty showed any explicit violence.* 

An example of the Back Door's offerings 
was a film titled Aberrations'^ which con- 
tained a scene depicting a gorilla fucking a 
woman in a vacant lot. In the middle of 

* Even the militant pro-censorship group 
Women Against Pornography estimates that 
only 10-15% of pornography contains violence 

t Titles didn't matter much at the BD. Quite 
otten we'd cut the titles from a film, invent a 
new name for it, and then advertise and rerun 
it under the new name a couple of weeks later. 

the scene, someone's pet German Shepherd 
wandered into the field of view, approach- 
ed the guy in the gorilla suit, sniffed him 
for several seconds, and exited as casually 
as he had entered the scene. 

While atypical, this film certainly seemed 
to degrade women. It's true, as critics of 
pornography delight in pointing out, that 
male dominance is a common feature in 
pornography. Where these critics err, 
however, is in ascribing male dominance 
to pornography. This is a clear reversal of 
cause and effect. Pornography is a fairly 
recent phenomenon, having become wide- 
ly available only during the last quarter 
century, while male dominance has its 
roots in antiquity, as virtually any ancient 
history text will show. St. Paul displayed 
a typical attitude when he commanded, 
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your hus- 
bands, as unto the Lord." 

Violence against women is nothing new 
either. In fact it was at its worst during the 
Middle Ages and Renaissance. During 
those periods hundreds of thousands, 
perhaps millions, of women were brutally 
tortured and murdered under the biblical 
injunction, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch 
to live." 

As for the contention that pornography 
somehow causes violence against women, 
all the evidence points against it. After 
Denmark eliminated all restrictions on 
pornography 20 years ago, the number of 
reported sex crimes there dropped. The 
1970 Presidential Commission on Por- 
nography concluded that there was no link 
between pornography and sexual violence. 
And Henry Hudson, chairman of Reagan's 
stacked anti-pornography commission, 
has even admitted, "If we relied exclusive- 
ly on scientific data for every one of our 
findings, I'm afraid all our work would be 

Given the total lack of evidence linking 
pornography and violence against women, 
and the long history of misogynistic teach- 
ing and coercion and violence against 
women — most visible at present in the 
efforts of various religions to use the gov- 
ernment to deprive women of their rights 
to birth control and abortion — one can 
only ask why "feminist" censorship advo- 
cates are focusing their attacks on pornog- 
raphy and not on misogynistic religious 

A plausible answer to that question is 
that they quite understandably feel frus- 
trated by sexism and violence against 
women — and they're seeking easy answers 
and easy targets upon which to vent their 
frustration. Freedom of speech, civil liber- 
tarians, and smut merchants provide much 
easier targets than religious figures. And 
those figures are only too eager to help 
"feminist " censors attack their scapegoat — 

One also wonders why anti-pom femi- 
nists, in addition to ignoring or, at times, 
lending credibility to reactionary religion- 



ists, ignore depictions of violence against 
women in the mass media far more hor- 
rible than those occasionally encountered 
in pornography. For example, "splatter" 
flicks such as Friday the 13th and Hal- 
loween consist largely of horrifying, ex- 

tremeiy brutal scenes of the killing of 
young women, and are routinely viewed 
by millions of young people. Yet anti-pom 
crusaders ignore these disgusting films and 
concentrate their fire on the run-of-the- 
mill poles'n'holes flicks shown to small 
audiences in porn theaters.* 


An interesting charge of the anti-por- 
nography movement is that pornography 
"objectifies" women, that is, that it pre- 
sents them as things to be "consumed" 
rather than as people. Neglecting the rath- 
er metaphysical, and thus vague, nature of 
this charge, one can only ask why "object- 
ification" in sexually explicit materials is 
more objectionable than that, for example, 
in advertising. We live in a society where 
"objectification" is pervasive, where people 
are commonly referred to and thought of 
as "personnel," "human resources," and, 
even more grotesquely, "liveware." While 
the "bottom line" remains the fundament- 
al value in society and people are consid- 
ered first and foremost as productive and 
consumptive units, "objectification" will 
inevitably continue.! 

It could easily be argued that women 
"objectify" men every bit as much, if not 
more, than men "objectify" women. If 
men look for appearance in women, wo- 
men look for money in men. Another way 
of saying this is that if men regard women 
as "sex objects," women regard men as 
"money objects." Check it out. Look 
through the "personals" sections of tab- 
loids such as The Village Voice or The Bay 
Guardian. What do women running ads 
want? More than anything else, money. 
(Their code words are "solvent," "secure," 
"successful," and professional.") 

The "objectification" of men by women 
brings up an interesting consideration: the 
class background of pom customers. If the 
customers of the Back Door were typical, 
as I believe they were, it's safe to say that 
men who consume pornography are pre- 
dominantly working class men — blue col- 
lar workers, salesmen, and low-paid white 
collar workers. It's not difficult to figure 
out why. A man's ability to get laid in the 
present society is highly dependent upon 
his income. Middle and upper class men 
can afford to "entertain a woman in style" 
(vacations, weekends at country inns, etc.) 
or shell out $100 for a hooker if they get 
the urge. Working class men, on the other 
hand, can only afford to spend a few 

" I am NOT suggesting that "splatter films be 
censored. I consider the dangers of censor- 
ship far greater than any — thus far undemon- 
strated — dangers these films might pose. 

t A bizarre illustration of this recently ocurred 
at my last place of work. Two of the barracudas 
— female managerial variety — were inspecting 
a cute baby in a stroller. One turned to the 
other and cooed: "Oh look! A future 

bucks occasionally for admission to a pom 
palace or for a copy of Hustler. 

Even in "normal" romantic liaisons, things 
are bad. Most women seem drawn to 
money and power like buzzards are drawn 
to carrion. A great number— including 
many who bridle at the way men "objecti- 
fy" women — wont even look at low-paid 
men because of class prejudice, because 
low-paid men are not desirable "'money 
objects." Thus we have the grotesque spec- 
tacle of women complaining about a "man 
shortage" while they're surrounded by 
working class men they don't even see. 

Working around such prejudiced women 
can be maddening for men in service in- 
dustries or retail. You become a non-p)erson. 
You simply don't exist. It makes you feel 
about as respected as a slave in the ante- 
bellum South. 

Such prejudice can be largely explained 
by the economic discrimination women 
face. But the prejudice persists even when 
its underlying cause vanishes. As an ex- 
ample, you'll seldom find female execu- 
tives flirting with male secretaries, nor fe- 
male physicians with male nurses or order- 
lies. Even though this class prejudice can 
be explained, that doesn't make it any 
easier to bear. 


Behind much criticism of pomography 
lurks the traditional judeo-christian idea 
that there is something inherently wrong 
with sex, that it's somehow dirty and evil. 
That it's necessary "to excuse it " through 
marriage, or, more commonly nowadays, 
through "love." 

But I don't buy that. I don't believe that 
sex needs to be justified; I believe that sex 
is its own justification. Why? Because it 
feels good. Because it produces pleasure 
and human happiness. For me that's 
enough — I believe that sex is inherently a 
good thing simply because it leads to hu- 
man pleasure and harms no one. I'd agree 
that sex is generally better when there is 
an emotional attachment between part- 
ners; but I've also had many very enjoy- 
able sexual experiences with partners with 
whom I've had little or no emotional at- 
tachment. I prefer sex with love — but I'll 
take sex without love over no sex at all 
any day. 

Attitudes similar to mine seem to be 
much more common in men than in wo- 
men, which helps to explain why the vast 
majority of pomography consumers are 
male. In American society men are con- 
ditioned to believe that attempting to sat- 
isfy their sexual needs is perfectly accept- 
able — even in so alienated a manner as 
paying to sit in a room with a bunch of 
strangers watching images of other 
strangers engaging in sex acts — while wo- 
men are conditioned not even to express 
sexual needs. A second explanatory factor 
is that the male dominance and occasional 



violence in pornography are quite probab- 
ly turnoffs for most women. 

A third is that it's easier in some ways 
for women to satisfy their sexual needs 
under present circumstances than it is for 
most men. Virtually any "decent-looking" 
woman, if she wants to, can go out and 
get laid within a few hours, any time, any- 
where. The fact that relatively few women 
take advantage of that opportunity be- 
cause of their repressive conditioning, 
the risks of pregnancy and VD, and the 
chauvinist attitudes and obnoxious behav- 
ior of many men, does not alter the fact 
that they do have the opportunity. 

A further consideration, however, is the 
quality of that opportunity. Several wo- 
men who read an earlier draft of this piece 
told me that most men are inconsiderate 
and, at best, mediocre lovers; and a wo- 
man's chances of getting off well, or really 
enjoying herself, in a sexual encounter, 
especially a one-night-stand, are fairly low. 
If that's the case, the sexual prospects of 
most women are as bleak as they are for 
most men. It's a paradoxical situation in 
which both parties come out losers: wo- 
men can, but generally don't want to, 
while men generally want to, but can't. 
So, you end up with millions of frustrated 

women sitting at home, and millions of 
frustrated men sitting in porn theaters. 

The retail pom industry, as I experi- 
enced it, is a sleazy and grotesque*, but 
highly profitable, business" But that's all it 
is — a money-making monument to sexual 
repression. Only by the wildest stretch of 
the imagination could one imagine room- 
fuls of pathetic geeks pounding their puds 
while watching fuck flicks as a threat to 
women. It's equally farfetched to consider 
that a form of sexual liberation. (1 find it 
difficult to imagine anyone with a satisfac- 
tory sex life plunking down five bucks for 
the privilege of jacking off in a disease pit 

* At times, the sleaziness ot the porn biz bor- 
ders, on the surreal. I vividly recall a visit I 
made one evening around Thanksgiving to my 
pal Russell, who was then working at Zorba's 
Adult Bookstore. When I walked through the 
door I was floored. The dildos, autosucks, and 
fist fucking magazines were still in their racks 
and the inflatable "love" dolls were still hanging 
from the ceiling — but there was a difference: the 
entire place was covered with christmas decora- 
tions. The crowning touch was a red ornament 
dangling from the tip of 'The Destroyer, " a 
two-foof-long, two-inch-thick dildo. 

' The blimped-out, cigar-sucking, white-shoed 
grossero who owned the Back Door was netting 
at least $1000 a week from it. 

like the Back Door.) 

On the other hand, lonely guys, such as 
I encountered at the Back Door, are not 
the only adults who use pornography. I 
recently worked at a large record store 
with a video counter, and at least half of 
the customers renting X-rated films were 
either women or couples, persons obvious- 
ly not using pornography as a substitute 
for sex, but as an addition to it. That be- 
ing the case, one is inescapably led to the 
conclusion that, at least in some instances, 
pornography is a good thing because it 
harms no one and increases human pleas- 

At worst, pornography functions as a 
harmless, and perhaps necessary, escape 
valve for the sexually frustrated. At best, 
it serves as a means for many people to in- 
crease the pleasures of their sex lives. 

Censorship of pornography would only 
increase the power and serve the ends of 
the misogynistic puritans who hate all 
forms of sexual expression. It must be op- 
posed. And sex must be proposed. A hard- 
driving pro-sex position is an absolute ne- 
cessity. It's our best and most persuasive 
means of protecting the freedoms we now 
have and of erecting others. 

-by Chaz Bufe M 




i was Kelly's first day working at 
VentureTech, Inc., and she hoped it 
would be her last. The place had a 
funny feel about it. There were a lot 
of Enlightened Management amenities, 
like good coffee, abstract floral prints 
on the walls, and comfort rooms with 
futons. But there was something 
creepy about how all that enlightened 
male niceness came across. It was bet- 
ter when the bosses were out-and-out 
pigs — you knew what you were deal- 
ing with. 

In this office, you couldn't tell if the 
boss-guy was putting his arm around you 
when he was telling you how to do the 
fucking word processing because he be- 
lieved Touching Is Good, and promotes 
Staff Well-being, or if he was just being 
a lech like every boss who ever tried to 
cop a feel. Kelly suspected the latter, al- 
though who knows? Maybe these young 
enlightened executive types had been in 
the spanky-clean office numbness for so 
long, recharging their energies at lunch- 
time in the corporate ExerCenter down- 
stairs, that they had even lost all lust. 

Sean, Kelly's boss for the day, slipped 
her a stack of papers with imperative- 
sounding post'em notes, grabbed his Adi- 
das bag and headed for the elevator. 
"Time for the work-out," he said, smilmg. 
"I need those letters out by two o'clock, 
but you be sure to try to get some fresh 
air yourself." 

Right, Kelly thought, turnmg off the 
word processor. She figured she could 
fuck off for about an hour, then take 
lunch when tfie guy got back. It makes 
no difference if letters gel mailed by two 
or five, he just likes to give orders. She 
started looking around her cubicle, then 
got up and peeked into Sean's office. It 
was done in New Age blues and salmons, 
with cushy round chairs and lacquered 
wicker bookshelves. He had his own fresh 
water dispenser in there, and rows of vita- 

[mins and weird green powders, which ex- 
plained the stale seaweed smell. Kelly went 
• over to the blond oak desk and tentative- 
ly opened a couple of drawers. The top 
ones were full of colored pens and per- 
sonalized stationery and trail mix. She 
opened the bottom drawer a little and 
saw some glossy magazines. She opened it 
all the way and got the full view: Crotch 
Shots, Suck, Hustler, Borjdage Babes, the 

She picked up one of the magazines 
and started leafing through. It was pretty 
hard core. Yuck. The stuff kind of grossed 
Kelly out. She usually got secretly 
turned on looking at sexy pictures. But 
these made her feel like she wanted to go 
buy Carter's cotton undies and stay home 
reading Louisa May Alcott. 

The creepy thing about the magazines, 
at least seeing them here in the office, 
is that there aren't any nude men any- 
where. The sacred dicks are behind-the- 
scenes, running the show. Hiring their 
temporary cunts to do their work and give 
them a cheap thrill on display in the outer 

Kelly wondered if Sean was really into 
kinky sex, whether he'd be fun in bed. 
Nah. He probably got the same kind of 
pleasure in bed as in the office — the plea- 
sure of being in control and getting as 
much as he can for the least he can do. 

Someone opened the door. Kelly 
slammed the drawer shut and turned 
around like she'd just been admiring the 

"Hey, you know where Sean is?" Kelly 
turned around. The guy was tall with a 
few beaded braids in his dark tangled hair. 
He had on a turquoise T-shirt and orange 
high-top tennies. Kelly was relieved; it 
must be a messenger or the mailroom guy. 
"Lunch," she said, edging back towards 
the door. The guy was staring in the 
vicinity of her chest with a funny smile. 
She looked down and realized she was still 

clutching a copy of Hot Licks. She got a 
flushed hot feeling all over. 

"1 was just..." She couldn t decide 
whether it was worse to be caught snoop- 
ing or reading porn magazines in the 
inner-office. Fuck it, lei him figure it out. 
"... getting his mail," she said, scooting 
over to his out box and scooping up the 
stack of papers, hiding the cover of the 
magazine. She quickly walked past the 
guy back to her own desk. Another wave 
of hot tingles came over Kelly, but this 
time, she noticed uncomfortably, it had to 
do with the closeness of the guy's loose, 
expressive body in this charged atmo- 
sphere. He followed her out. 

She was safe behind her desk. She 
picked up a couple of pieces of mail from 
her desk and handed the whole stack to 
him. "So here you go, " she said, turning 
toward her Wang. 

He took the papers, but he didnt leave. 
Kelly turned around toward him. He 
handed her the magazine from the bottom 
of the stack, trying to control a smirk. 
""Better not forget this,'" he said. 

"Oh yes. Thanks,"' she said absently, 
slipping it into her purse. 

"Bored? " he asked 

"Huh? " What was he offering? 

"The office work. Typing. Bet it gets 
boring. " 

""Oh."" She smiled. "You bet. It sucks."" 
She looked up at his T-shirt and wanted 
to nuzzle her face in it. 

"Yeah. At least I don"t have to work 
out here where they can watch over every- 

""So what"s your name?" she asked him. 


She paused and extended her hand. 
"Kelly." He had a soft, firm handshake, 
lightly slid his fingers off her palm. He 
motioned toward his cart. "Mailman." She 



pointed at her Wang. 'Temporary." 
He nodded. "Well, I gotta go." 

Sean came back in from his work-out, 
and all Kelly could do was picture him 
chained to an examination table in his 
spiffy suit with some dominatrix poking at 
his dick through his zipper with a sharp 
steel rod, making him beg her to stop. 
Sean stood in front of her looking through 
his mail. His bluish fingers on the manila 
seemed tense and up-tight. No, she couldn't 
picture him in bed — Ick. 

"Any calls?" he said, smiling at her just 
enough to make her sick. He probably 
paid people to smile like that. "No," said 
Kelly, folding her arms. He looked at her 
long hair and slithered down to her fingers 
on the keyboard. 

"I had a great work-out," he said, as if 
Kelly 'd asked. "We've got a wonderful 
exercise center downstairs — really gets 
everyone in tip-top tone." He lifted his 
pecs a little bit, most likely for approval, 
and ran his hands through his moussed 
hair. "Would you like to try it out after 
work? We don't usually let temporary 
help in the club, but I bet I can sneak you 
in as my guest." 

"No," said Kelly, and then thought she'd 
better add, "Thanks." 

"So did you finish the reports?" he 
asked, drooping again. He said it in a tone 
like he probably always said 'did you 
come?' "No, " she said. He frowned and 
lost his slimey, friendly demeanor. "1 
want them immediately." He went into his 
office. Probably to beat off. 

Kelly finished word processing the let- 
ters, and started printing them out. Half- 
way through., the ribbon died. She beeped 
Sean on the intercom and asked him 
where the new ones were. "In the mail- 
room," he said. "You have to requisition 
them from the mailboy. " 

"She liked being a temp because 

of the constant change in scenery. 

An intercom light went on in her undies. 
She put it on hold and went out to look 
for the mailroom, down the hall past the 
kitchenette. He was in there, slipping let- 
ters in and out of the mail slots. She 
walked in real business-like. 

"Excuse me," she said, curtly, "but do 
you know where I can find a new ribbon 
for the printer?" She looked in the supply 
cabinet, picked up a bottle of white out, 
and rolled it between her fingers. 

He looked up. '"Oh, hi." 

She wondered whether he could see her 
nipples sticking up through her Temporary 
Blouse. "Hi." She leaned against the mail 
shelves and stayed there for a few mo- 
ments, noticing the little red lines around 
his intense blue irises. 

"Ribbons," he said. 

"What?" She blinked, spaced out. "Yeah, 
ribbons. "' 

He reached across her up to a top shelf, 
just brushing her chest with his. She got a 
good whiff of his yummy/stinky smell. 
"You may have to move," he said. 'They're 
way up here." She slid underneath his 
arm as he stretched way up for the rib- 
bons. The whole box spilled down on the 
floor, startling Kelly. They both got down 
on the floor to pick them up: her hair in 
his face, arms touching and crossing. He 
leaned back on haunches. "I'm a klutz," 
he said matter-of-factly, smiling. "No big 
deal," she said, putting her hand on his 
back for support, slowly standing up. 
Then she offered him his hand. He took it 
and pulled her back down on top of him. 

They had 80% body contact for a couple 
of squishy moments, but stopped just be- 
fore they started squirming all over each 
other. He laughed at himself. "I told you 
1 was a klutz." 

He pulled her up, both aware of the 
energy charge between them, but both un- 
willing to make another move. Kelly 
thought about knocking something else 
over, but figured by now it was pretty 

She straightened her box of ribbons, 
and started looking around the room. 
"You've got all the office supplies you and 
your friends'Il ever need." 

"Yeah. They comes in handy." He 
patted the Xerox machine. "Especially 

"You do a lot of leaflets or what?" 

"Yeah, flyers, xerox collages." 

"Do you have any?" 

"I've got a bunch, but they're put away 
in the other room." He pointed to a door 
at the end of the room. "The comfort 
station." He walked into the other room, 
which had futons, lamps, and easy chairs. 

"This is a trip," said Kelly. She plopped 
down on a futon and set her water-based 
White-out and ribbons next to her. 

"Well, they figure people need to reco- 
ver from VDT rays or the Exercycle or 
whatever. It keeps 'em going." 

Kelly eyed the door. "Do people come 
here very often?" 

Clutch laughed. "I wouldn't say that." 

Kelly blushed. "You know what I 
mean." She hit him playfully. 

Clutch closed the door. "There. It"s 

"That's supposed to make me feel more 

"Sure," he said, then opened a cabinet 
and pulled out a box full of xerox col- 
lages. "Then no one will find out what 
subversives we are." 

"I'm just getting printer ribbons." 

Clutch brought the box over to the fu- 
ton. He brought out a couple of collages 
of media-twisting advertisements and 
words. Kelly held one of the papers and 
their hands touched. She slid her hand up 
his arm a little way. 



Clutch let the papers drop to the floor. 
He lightly pushed her all the way back on 
the futon. "Maybe I can see them later," 
said Kelly. She was wondering whether to 
make a break for it. He probably thought 
she was some kind of a Hot Licks sleeze, 
and he was just going for whatever he 
could get, typical male opportunist. 

"Maybe I could see you later." He 
kissed her from her neck up to her lips 
and stayed put for awhile. She thought 
maybe she'd go for whatever she could 
get. Might not be bad to have a few hot 
licks. Beats the Wang. 

"Maybe," she said, kissing him back, 
sliding her hands down the sides of his 
body, then sliding them back up the cen- 
ter, pausing on top of his tiny nipples. He 
smelled her hair and nosed his way down 
to her breasts. He stroked them, undid a 
couple of buttons, and put his cold hands 
on her bare nipples. He unbuttoned the 
rest of her blouse. She stroked his ass and 
pulled it closer to her, feeling how hard 
he was against her thighs. He kept kissing 
her slowly, down from the tips of her 
breasts to her ribs, to her belly-button. 


She pulled his shirt ( 
tugged it up over his 
warm body against hers 
tie bites on his neck ar 
his earlobes until he shiv 

He pulled her skirt i 
her through her stockir 
ings," she said, kickin 
Pumps off. "Fucking un 
him peel them off and 
this was going to go. H« 
picked up the bottle of V 

"What are you doing? 

"Relax," he said. "V 
opened the bottle and b; 
cle around her nipple, 
me do whatever I want. 

"I don't know." 

"I'll stop if you don' 

"If I get to do whatevf 


He put both of her 
head. "You have to pre 
he said, and kissed her. 
her tongue flicking the 

Sean came back in from his workout, and all Kelly could ° ' 
o o ^do was picture him chained to an examination table in his "^ ° ''o^ 
o°o spiffy suit with some dominatrix poking at his dick through 
'y:°^he zipper with a sharp steel rod, making him beg her to stop. 

o a a a o o o ___^ " o o 


SocifeTAU f\ppRo\/AU 






LOOtcS ^\\?\cowvS 

o From Life In Hell, PO Box 36E64, LA, CA 90036 

©1983 Bji) 

Graphic I 


of his pants, 
I, and felt fiis 
e gave him lit- 
s ears, licking 
I a little. 
1 and rubbed 
"I hate stock- 
;r Temporary 
1." She helped 
Jered how far 
:hed over and 
' asked. 

ilk? it." He 
'd 3 white cir- 

relax and let 

? it. But you 

ant next." 

Is above her 
they're tied," 
nodded with 
)f his mouth. 

He brushed the White-out from her elbow 
to her armpit, and down to her breast. 
"That tickles." 

His other hand started working some 
fingers into her vagina, just barely touch- 
ing her clitoris now and then. She started 
to squirm. He painted little designs on her 
tummy and outlined her pubic hair. Then 
he drew a line down the inside of a thigh 
to the back of her knee. Kelly moved her 
hands to touch him. 
"No," he said. 

He dropped the bottle. He traced the 
white line down from her breast with 
kisses, and buried his face in her pubic 
hair. His tongue started at the top of the 
crack and slithered its curious way down, 
slowly, round and round, to the tip of her 
clitoris. She jerked a little nervously. "I 
don't know about this." 

He continued. And continued. Kelly 
gave her doubts up to a strand of deli- 
ciousness that had taken hold. She fol- 
lowed it deep inside, swelling until it 
burst, until it collected itself again and 
went ever deeper, ever sweeter, ever more 
intense until she buzzed all over. 

He slapped her ass hard, and she caught 

her breath sharply; her body awoke 

Q to another sensation. 

He slipped three 


Well Seasoned Greetings 
:iV:.„ for 1987! 

inside her pussy then came up and kissed 
her on her mouth, and she tasted herself. 
With his thumb on her clit she came again, 
this time deeper, higher-pitched, shaking. 

She opened her eyes, took a deep breath 
and fixed her eyes on his Levi's. She 
stroked his hair and bent down to kiss 
his earlobes. Then she rolled herself on her 
side and kissed him all the way down to 
his tummy, alternately unbuttoning his 
jeans and stroking him from his thighs to 
his bulging underwear. She bent over to 
untie his hi-tops, pulled them off, then 
pulled his jeans and his underwear down. 

"My turn," she said. 

"Looks that way." 

She pinched his feet a little, then lightly 
stroked his legs. She leaned over him, her 
white-rimmed breast in his face, and 
picked up a printer ribbon. She pulled 
some of the ribbon out and started wrap- 
ping it around one of his wrists. 

"No way," he said, squirming. 



She tied his hands on either of him to 
the slats on the futon frame. Then she tied 
his feet, legs spread out. 

"This is really kinky," he said. 

"Umm." She sat on the futon between 
his legs and started stroking herself in 
front of him and masturbating. She would 
stop occasionally and rub her breasts 
against his nipples and lightly lick his 
thighs. She grabbed his penis and slid 
herself down on top of it, squeezing him 
with her pussy muscles. She lifted herself 
up and down a few times and pulled him 
out of her. 

"This isn't too safe," she said. He 
squirmed. She started licking around his 
penis. He stiffened some, and she kissed 
and licked under and over his balls, draw- 
ing a hard line up the underside of his 
penis. Then she stopped. 

"Oh, baby, keep going." 

"When I want to." 

She bit his nipple and played with his 
penis in her hand. She slid her tongue 


back down to his penis. She put her lips 
over the top, over a little more, then slid 
all the way down, and up and down again, 
sliding her hands along his sides, tickling 
his balls. She sucked him until he shud- 
dered and came. She slid her body all the 
way up his and wiped the leftover cum 
off onto the comfort station pillow. He 
kissed her. 

"Will you take these things off now? I 
want to hold you." She started untying 
the ribbon, and turned at a sound in the 

"Shit," said Clutch. He ripped his hands 
and feet away from the printer ribbon. He 
put his hands over his face and groaned. 
"No, no. Work." 

Someone knocked on the door. "Clutch?" 
It was a woman. "I need some more 
second sheet stationery." 

"Hang on, Sallie," he called. "I want to 
finish this burrito." He jumped up and put 
on his jeans and T-shirt. "How bout if 
I bring you some in a few minutes?" 

"Okay," she answered. "But this letter 
has to get out before 4:30." 

Kelly picked up her camisole from the 
floor. He pulled her towards him for 
another kiss. "I want to stay here with 
you all night long." 

She looked at the employee notices on 
the walls. "Think we could find some- 
where else?" He laughed. She pulled her 
clothes on and straightened her hair in 
the mirror. All of a sudden they looked 
like they did before. She put on her pumps 
and stood up. 

"1 liked you better with your clothes off.' 

She grabbed her box of ribbons and 
put her hand on the doorknob. "Back to 
the zone." 

"Don't forget your White-out." She 

She went back to her desk, put in the 
ribbon and finished printing her stuff out, 
glad it was almost time to go. She felt a 
little funny in her skirt, blouse and stock- 
ings. The White-out was caking off inside 
her camisole. 

She didn't even know the guy. She pro- 
bably wouldn't see him again. Being back 
at her desk, typing up letters she couldn't 
give a shit about, made her feel somehow 
like she was being taken advantage of by 

Sean came out of the office. "So you're 
back," he said. He looked at his watch. 

"I took a late break." Kelly pictured 
herself as a photo in one of his maga- 
zines, pictured herself spread out, center- 
fold glossy, painted in white with Sean set- 
ting up the shot, hot lights making her 
sticky and unhappy, sweating White-out. 
Kelly thought about Clutch and felt a lit- 
tle like her most vulnerable self was spread- 
eagled in Hot Licks magazine. 

"Well, look. Finish printing that stuff 
out, leave it for me to sign in the mor- 
ning, and then watch the phones until five. 
I've got to take off a little early." 

"Okay. " She put her Temporary Time 
Card in front of him. He signed it and 
nodded good-bye. She watched his brief- 
case get smaller and smaller and wondered 
what was repressed inside it. He stooped 
for a drink of water before leaving, stiff. 
What a jerk. She shook her head. Like 
she's going to make herself feel like a Bad 
Kelly Girl for having a little fun at work. 
A lot of fun. She waited until he was gone 
long enough for it to be safe, then she 
put on her jacket to leave and walked out, 
avoiding the mailroom. 

In the elevator, she pictured Clutch's 
orange hi-tops strewn on the comfort 
station floor and tried to remember what 
his hair smelled like. She looked around 
at the three neatly-suited men in the ele- 
vator, each with an identical briefcase, 
each numbly staring at the walls as they 
descended to the lobby, and she laughed 
out loud. 

by Kelly Girl 



My Interview with 

urrently the Reagan administra- 
tion is trying to whip up national hy- 
steria over drug consumption. Part of 
this hysteria is the effort to implement 
mandatory drug testing for all Ameri- 
can workers. The administration's war 
on drug consumption presumes that 
drug abuse can be stopped by police 
and military repression. Drug abuse is 
treated as a social problem that can be 
eliminated through state-backed sanc- 
tions, rather than as a medical problem 
that requires medical treatment. 
Moreover, this war on drug consump- 
tion ignores the underlying causes of 
drug abuse and fails to distinguish be- 
tween recreational drug use and seri- 
ous drug addiction. Accordingly, chil- 
dren are being encouraged by Big 
Brother to turn their parents in for the 
heinous crime of smoking a joint. The 
government solution to drug abuse is 
firing workers who test positive on 
frequently inaccurate drug tests. Hav- 
ing already eliminated most health 

care services for workers, the Reagan 
administration patronizingly claims to 
be concerned with health. To quote 
Nancy Reagan, "just say no" to exter- 
nal control of your life. 

Several large corporations are making a 
lot of money through mandatory drug 
testing at the worksite. One of these corp- 
orations is SYNTEX (U.S.A.). 

When I sent my resume to them, I had 
no idea what the corjioration did. After 
talking with a headhunter in Palo Alto, I 
discovered that SYNTEX was a trans- 
national pharmaceutical corporation. A 
few days before my interview, I talked 
with a friend who happened to work for a 
law firm that represents SYNTEX. My 
friend mentioned that SYNTEX was fac- 
ing a large lawsuit in the United States as 
a result of the rather nasty side effects of 
its product ORAFLEX. Two days before 
my interview, I read an article in the San 
Francisco Chronicle that mentioned 
major urine analysis companies with cor- 
porate testing contracts. Well before my 
interview, I had decided that I was not 
going to be part of a corporation pro- 
moting mandatory drug tests and thereby 

promotmg greater corporate control over 
all our lives." 

As I drive over the Bay Bridge, I wonder 
why well-educated people would piss in a 
bottle for a job. My radio is tuned to 
KALX, which is blaring out a classic from 
the Avengers: 

You're nothing but a white nigger 
Working for the corporation 
Selling your soul for the company 
So young so ambitious 
You're nothing but a white nigger 
The thought of thousands of Stanford 
graduates pissing in bottles makes me 
break into uncontrollable laughter. 

1 arrive in Palo Alto thirty minutes ahead 
of schedule, drive into the second SYNTEX 
driveway, and park in a visitor parking 
spot. The SYNTEX complex consists of 
several large buildings arranged in a corp- 
orate campus with a park and duck pond. 
As I listen to MDC's classic "John Wayne 
was a NAZI," I watch the three-piece 
executives walking by. I also watch the 
blue-collar, security-badged types moving 
boxes of test tubes from building to build- 
ing. The SYNTEX corporate environment 
resembles state socialism— completely 

1 walk from my car to the employment 



building. Hello, I'm Sarkis Manouchian. I 
have an interview with David Laidlaw. 
The receptionist looks down a list of names 
and checks mine off. Please fill out an em- 
ployment application. Mr. Laidlaw will 
see you shortly. I read the application. On 
the last page 1 notice the following: "If the 
applicant is selected for a position, the ap- 
plicant is required to pass both a physical 
examination and a drug screening test. If 
the applicant refuses to take either test, the 
applicant will be withdrawn from con- 
sideration for the position in question. " 
Then a tall blond man in his middle thir- 
ties, wearing a dark blue wool suit, ap- 
proaches me. 

DL: Hi, I'm David Laidlaw. 
SM: Nice to meet you. 
DL (smiling and looking at me): Would 
you like some coffee? 

SM (also smiling): No, I'm fundamentally 
opposed to drug consumption, especially 
drug consumption on the job. 
DL (confused): What? Well, come into my 
office and have a seat. I'd like to tell you a 
little bit about our company. Right now 
we have 11,000 employees at this site. In 
the next five years, we plan on expanding 

Phone in the dope 
on a squealer. 


to 20,000 employees. We've already bought 
the land and have drawn up the plans. In 
1985 we made over $150 million in profit. 
We have assets of close to one billion. 
SM (looking at the SYNTEX management 
awards on the wall and the cluttered desk 
next to me): Can you tell me about some 
of your products? 

DL (looking self-assured): Of course I can. 
In 1985 NAPROSYN was the fifth largest- 
selling pharmaceutical in the United States, 
with over two hundred and eighty-seven 
million dollars in sales. This year we re- 
leased an anti-ulcer drug called GARDRIN 
in Mexico. We expect this drug to do quite 

THIS M*»bXM W«ffL» 


wMV if<; BILL H3i80, L^ff th^foni i' ■crn^MiNo 

well. If you join SYNTEX, you'll be joining 
a very stable corporation with a strong 
and diverse product line. You will not ex- 
perience the ups and downs of corpora- 
tions in the Silicon Valley. 
SM (looking at David intently): Why 
wasn't GARDRIN released in the United 
States as well as Mexico? 
DL: We haven't got clearance from the 
FDA yet. 

SM: What percentage of SYNTEX's profit 
do you expect to come from urinalysis in 
the next five years? 

DL (visibly upset and staring at the 
ground): Excuse me? 

SM (looking directly at David): How 
much of your planned expansion is based 
on mandatory urinalysis tests? 
DL (extremely nervous): I'm sorry I don t 
have figures on this subject. We do require 
all our employees to take pre-employment 
drug tests. All the big companies are mov- 
ing in this direction. We believe it's in the 
employees' best interest to submit to drug 

SM (glowering): Why? 
DL: Well, because there's a big drug prob- 
lem in this area in particular and the nation 
in general. This is a very touchy subject. 
Some workers regard these tests as an in- 
vasion of their privacy. However, we be- 
lieve something must be done to stop drug 

SM: It seems to me that pre-employment 
drug testing violates the fourth amend- 
ment of the Constitution. I don't see how 
you can make drug testing a requirement 
for employment. Furthermore, if SYNTEX 
were truly worried about drug abuse, it 
wouldn't market drugs that haven't been 
fully tested. If SYNTEX were really worried 
about drug abuse among its workers, it 
would provide voluntary and free medical 
programs for them. 

DL (coldly): Well, we think our president 
—President Reagan— is one hundred per- 
cent behind drug testing. We don't think 
the Supreme Court will be rigid on this is- 
sue. Besides, urinalysis products are only a 
small part of our product line. Thank you 
for your interest in SYNTEX. Let me show 
you the door. 

SM (smirking): Did I get the job? 
DL (smoldering): I'll have to discuss your 
case with management! ^ 

—hy Sarkis Manouchian jig 




^^an I have everyone's attention 
please? We're in the planetarium today 
to get acquainted with the autumn 

\Nhat did he say? Acquainted with what? 
Is my light-headedness from swivel chair 
dizziness or synthetic twilight's creep? 
Leaning back in chair, my body feels wired, 
tight but floating. Heart pounds ready to 
stop any moment, breath glimmers. A 
twinkling ache in tender swollen throat. 
Couldn't be. Throat culture taken for 
strep. Couldn't ask if it's. Couldn't be. 

And if there are any questions about Fri- 
day's lecture on the Big Bang and Steady 
State theories, feel free to raise them as 

The lithe dancer I spent night with re- 
appears through swarms of students every 
week, Walkman tape player earphones 
glued on. Looks more pale and gaunt than 
usual. But can't talk to him, haven't talked 
in years, swimming by alone in the current. 

You will need to remember a number of 
these constellations for your next quiz. 
For starters, let's take a look at Cygnus the 
Swan, over here. 

Tm healthy, don't want to be branded. 
If I ask, the nurse's brisk routine would 
stumble into stutter into "One moment, 
please," reappearing a few minutes later 
with address of special testing clinic. She 
will hand it over to me at maximum dis- 
tance, like the fencers touch their swords 
at start of match. What if someone saw 
me go to testing clinic? Don't want to know. 

Professor Rennick, is it true that every 
galaxy is flying away from every other 
galaxy at an ever greater velocity? 

The first scare was in 1983, Tom. Brief 
affair had been in 1981. By 1983 we were 
both in steady relationships. He with a 
man, I with a woman. Tom spoke of the 
scare he and his lover had had: They'd 
both been tired, their lymph node glands 
had been swollen. A flash passed between 
Tom's eyes and mine. "But it was nothing, " 
he said. We've crossed paths less and less 
since then. 

Professor Rennick: Maybe it just appears 
from our position in the Milky Way that 
all the other galaxies are receding from 
each other. What if they are actually only 
moving away from us? 

/ worked as a dishwasher at a restaurant 
on Castro Street in 1984. When a customer 
came in who was obviously a victim of the 
disease, the waitress recommended I put 
his dishes in a separate dishpan, instead of 
the sink, "just in case. " Yd heard there was 
only a minor possibility you could get it 
from saliva, but there had been some ex- 
ceptional cases which raised questions. The 
man ate an enormous amount. So by the 
time I lugged this dishpan full of dishes, 


Graphic by Louis M 

hot water and clorox, into the alley way, 
I almost sprained my back. We talked 
about it a lot at the restaurant. Should we 
volunteer at Project Shanti? Should the 
baths be shut down? I began to see leaflets 
for benefits for the victims. One showed a 
picture of a healthy, sexy, vibrant young 
man, stripped to the waist, wearing feath- 
ers in his hair, glitter on his face, paint on 
his chest. After getting fired, I was happy 
to leave the neighborhood. 

The apparent shift of the galaxies away 
from our own is not the only evidence we 
have of the Big Bang; there is also evi- 
dence of background radiation still in mo- 
tion, coming evenly in all directions, a 
sort of distant echo from the Big Bang. 

Getting fired was: talking to my friend 
on the phone (who had helped me get the 
job originally, when he quit), who told me 
that the restaurant owner said my co- 
workers were talking about problems they 
had working with me. Owner had to fire 
me after the Christmas rush. After hearing 
that, I quit a few days before Christmas. 
So it was good to leave the neighborhood. 
I was escaping from it. I did not consider 
myself as part of the high-risk group. I was 
comforted by the blank unknown faces of 
a new neighborhood. Silent closed faces 
on the bus, crawling through traffic jams 
to school. 

But the real question about the Big Bang 
is: will it continue to expand forever or 
will it collapse into itself? 

/ have two friends on opposite sides of 
the country with friends who are dying. 
Now I hear people saying that the incuba- 
tion period could be 10 or 15 years. Not 
only will the upward curve of victims con- 
tinue, but more people will be giving birth 
to children with the disease, and more will 
simply be afraid to reproduce. I cannot tell 
my new friends either. I know they will try 
to sympathize. But they will visit me in 
my new apartment less often. It's easier to 
call by phone. Phone voices will be muted, 
then recede into static. They will flinch 
when I hug them. How can I object? Just 
think of my friend Larry, who disappeared 
for years in the corridors of mental hospi- 
tals and welfare hotels, reappearing ragged, 
and I kissed him on the cheek and not on 
the lips as I used to, because of flash fear: 

It depends on the amount of matter in 
the universe. If there is less than critical 
mass it will be insufficient to stop the ex- 

Can't talk about it with the woman I 
live with. 

The stars cool and die, matter itself de- 
cays and the universe becomes a thin cold 
haze of elementary particles. 

Yes. I anticipate the great reversal, col- 
lapse, and the coming cosmic destruction. /j> 

-by Jeff Goldthorpe J/S 


aving been sick a lot as a child, I 
developed a great rapport with my 
doctor. We talked about everything, 
including sex, and because I was sexu- 
ally active, I point blank asked my 
doctor for birth control when 1 was 14 
years old. He gave it to me because he 
had expressed concern for my future. 
He was afraid that I might become 
trapped into teen motherhood. 

I became sexually active with my boy- 
friend just before I turned 14. He was 
angry because 1 didn't bleed a lot the "first 
time. " He accused me of not being a virgin, 
which was true. I was raped, very brutally, 
when I was five years old, and subse- 
quently sexually abused until my teens. I 
could not tell my boyfriend this. He was 

insanely jealous and violent, and I already 
felt that the abuse was somehow my fault. 
Of course he also came from a violent, 
abusive home. 

Our sex life became our whole life. We 
couldn't stay out of bed together — we did 
everything we could imagine, as often as 
possible. We both got burned out at a cer- 
tain point — it was becoming obvious that 
"sex is not everything." We fought a lot. 
He beat me. I was living with him in his 
grandmother's house. 

I tried returning to my mother's house, 
but the violence there was much more 
literally life-threatening. I knew he would 
beat me, but I believed she would kill me. 
The last time I ever stayed in her house, 
she broke my bedroom door down with 
the poker (we had a coal stove), but when 
she rushed at me, my dog attacked her. He 
saved my life. When, in her lucid mo- 
ments, I tried to ask her why she was the 

way she was, she told me I had it easy, 
that her father had beat her regularly with 
a horsewhip. She had scars on her back. 
She escaped into marriage. I escaped into 

Until my boyfriend, whom I trusted 
blindly and totally, my sexual feelings 
were confused with pain and abuse. With 
him, I felt love and warmth — albeit tinged 
with antagonism, some contempt, and lots 
of fear. It had just the right tone of famili- 
arity to be bearable and even comfortable. 
When he began to develop a fixation with 
knives (my mother's favorite weapon), 
and there was a bizarre accident where I 
was stabbed, I knew I had to leave. 

I was lucky. When 1 ran away, I ran to 
good people who protected me. Even 
though I graduated from that life of sexual 
abuse into prostitution, I was at least not 
on the streets. 

Most people who hear my story natur- 



ally assume I must hate and fear all men. 
Yet men themselves have helped to pre- 
vent this. 1 have known and experienced 
the worst they can offer, but also the best. 
For example, there was Ronnie Wiggins 
(how I wish he could read! I would love 
for him to read this). When I was in my 
early twenties I got a job as a receptionist 
in a massage parlor. 1 was trying to get out 
of the Life and even though Ronnie had 
pimped a little, he never even suggested 
that 1 go back into it. His pimp friends al- 
ways teased him about that, and about 
how, when he was pimping, he hadn't 
bossed his women, or taken all their money. 
He was a "wimp pimp." He was just a kind 
man who really felt it when he hurt other 

One night at work, I was raped. This 
man had come in several times to talk and 
I never suspected a thing. He had a long 
knife with him. My heart felt like he had 
twisted it into me. He told me he was a 
"Black Muslim" and that he had twelve 
Muslim friends outside who were going to 
come in and "cut me into little pieces." 

When 1 went home to Ronnie, who is 
also a black man, he had a couple of 
friends over. I felt suddenly as though per- 
haps it was all a "Black Muslim ' conspiracy 
— I was confused and frightened, even of 
Ronnie. He tried to talk to me, and then 
he began to make love to me. I was shock- 
ed. I thought he was getting off on what 
had happened to me, and it may be true 
that some element of that was present. But 
as he made love to me, he took hold of 
my arms, and looked into my face and re- 
peated over and over— "It's ME, It's ME." 
My response to that gesture was to realize 
there is a distinction between man and 
rapist, and between black man and black 
man as rapist. 

Sure, I was raped by a brother. But I 
was also raped by my own brother — of 

the golden hair and green eyes. There were 
two striking similarities between them. 
They both had huge dicks, and they both 
wanted me to tell them it was "the best I'd 
ever had." Non-huge penises of the world, 

As I reached my mid-twenties, the last 
stage of moving out of the Life found me 
briefly on stage at the Sutter Street The- 
atre — a "classy" joint. The stints there 
were for two weeks; pay was $500. I did 
not know that for the second week of ap- 
pearance, I was supposed to work up a 
whole new show, and I couldn't afford a 
new costume, etc. The employers in these 
places are typically very "sympathetic" in 
a manipulative way. Had 1 explained to 
them that I didn't have the money to put 
together another show, 1 believe they 
would've offered to advance my pay. 
Then I would've had to use all or most of 
it to create a new show — therefore my 
goal of getting in and out with the whole 
$500 would have been defeated. Instead I 
told them I was burned out and would do 
my second week later on. I got a job at the 
Palace to try to get up the cash to finance 
my new show and have time to create one. 
The Palace Theatre, 55 Turk St., Tender- 
loin, San Francisco, was not nice. Men in 
the audience jerked off with wild abandon. 
The place was filthy and reeked of urine 
and semen. 

The Sutter Street owners found out I 
was at the Palace, and when I called them, 
they lambasted me for my disloyalty and 
told me I was blacklisted from then on. 
The only work I would be able to get was 
in joints like the Palace. I was devastated. 
There was nothing to do but go on. 

By this time, I felt I really had no sexu- 
ality except as the false seductress, and 
that role can only go so far in real life. 

The projectionist (a handsome, sensitive, 
loving man with little of the "animal chal- 

lenge" in his character) and I developed a 
friendship which eventually evolved into a 
love affair. His way was very gentle, 
though reserved. In this atmosphere, I felt 
free to stretch myself once again into the 
arena of my own sexual being. I have in 
fact known many good men who have 
helped me a great deal. But mostly, I am 
aware that my own efforts and determina- 
tion have propelled me towards a full life. 

It has been a very difficult struggle from 
cold to warm to human. Sometimes I still 
feel that I am going to die from the inside 
out. But I do finally believe there is a way 
out of the vicious cycle of violence, and 
the vicious cycle of sexual falseness. The 
feeling that it is "my fault" (typical self- 
blaming pattern in incest and sexual abuse) 
also is fading away. 

I do not belittle the pain that I and 
others (so many others — the secret silently 
kills — but to face it seems like instant death) 
have endured, but I do believe that the is- 
sue of blame must be properly placed. The 
archetypal concept of evil does not fit. I 
cannot say my mother was to blame. I 
cannot say her father was to blame. Nor 
can I lay the fault at the hands of social 
workers who pronused me "this time ..." 

Value is placed on things, and value 
judgments are passed on people. If he's 
dirty don't touch him. If she's sick don't 
go near. If it's pretty buy it. 

I have learned there is a personal escape 
from poverty and violence. But I don't 
know if there is an escape from the vicious 
cycle of the world system. The knife seems 
to have been planted too deep — the infec- 
tion seems to have spread too far. Some- 
body call the doctor. . and if that doctor 
isn't in, we can always get Dr. Feelgood 
on the line. 

— by Linda Thomas JH 




i've drunk so much coffee that lightning came in the room 
and lit me up 

there's one tiny point on my elbow that itches 
when its near the power cord 

i'm 1 with electricity 
and Switches 

wired in like a heavy metal amp 
to this hill of glowing metal ants 

and the sound is of teeth grinding 
and the sound is of teeth 
and the sound Is of teeth grinding 
and the sound is of teeth 

and the sound is of these damn teeth grinding 

and the sound is of (...) 


i've drunk so much coffee that lightning came in the room 
and lit me up 

by Julia barclay 

Science Fiction 

the buses and the telephones 
have run out of gas 
the sky makes a sound 
you wouldn't want to hear 

the moon is a white piece 
of nothing special 
somewhere it shines 
on stained formica 






my love 

step thru a broken window 

and loot me a coat 

the cables to Utopia 
have all been snapped 
and its going to be 
a long winter 

by Owen Hill 




A clear conscience calls for a clear liquid 
in a city where people leave their hearts 
all ex-lovers and ex-patriots 
their blood a poison 
that tastes like tears 

by rosetta a. 




Sorry I'm late 


1 woke up with my period and found 

my box of tampons had turned to dandelions, 

gone to seed just like on the TV ads. 

I left for work, early, in my new ruby slippers 

and an awful wind took me from the bus stop 

carried me all the way to K-Mart 

Into the arms of a scientologist 

buying oil in the hardware section. 

He helped me 

find myself, my shoes. 

In the elevator 

a supervisor smelled my briefcase 
told me 

tuna sandwiches have been banned 
in the secretarial pool. 

(I snacked between the 8th and I Ith floors 
and had to wash my face). 

Honestly, I woke up in time but 
my Harley-Davidson is missing a cylinder 
I had to move Mozart from the shower 
I swear the calendar read 1958 
the cat knocked over the moon 
I slept in. 

by Pam Tranfield 

They want me to cut my long hair and beard 

wear a suit and tie 

and go in and out of skyscrapers 

with a briefcase. 
They want me back in the factory 

sweating pathetic disillusioned 

repudiating my Factory poem. 
They want me cleaning pubic hairs off toilets 

of capitalist entrepreneurs younger than me. 
They want me delivering supermarket circulars 

with bums who can't read or write. 
They want me on my knees begging God 

for forgiveness for giving blowjobs 
devoutly and fervently. 
They want me institutionalized 

under psychiatric care. 
They know what drugs are best for me. 
They want me to salute the American flag 

witli tears in my eyes. 
They want me to say 1 984 

was nothing like the book. 
They want me to write factories are so great 

we should beg to work in them 
for nothing. 
They tell me I can still write poetry 

and have a full-time factory 
or computer job. 
That I can write on my time off 

as a hobby. 
Better I write poetry full-time 

and have a job on the side, 
Better writing poetry full-time my job 

and do no other work at all, 
Better not to think of poetry 

as a job, as work. 
But play, divine play, 

a joy like a singing bird 
or leaping dolphin. 
As Nietzsche said— "Live 

as though the day were here. " 

by Antler 

going for a job 

I am going for a job interview 

that may change my life 

as I enter the conference room 

a piece of snot falls out of my nose 

and just hangs there 

my whole future is dangling 

my mind is suspended 

I don't know what to do 

questions are being asked 

why do you want to work here 

they'll find me out now 

when would you be available 

I am hanging on for dear life 

from a giant slippery piece of snot 

you're hired they tell me 

you'll fit in just fine 

here we all have snot hanging from our noses 

by William Talcott 

Graphics by Pauline Paranoia 





Wenda knew the fleeting sense of 
money. Wenda knew how quickly it 
was made and how quickly it was 

Wenda was beautiful and worked in 
a fancy men's store selling trousers. 

Wenda cut cheese at Poured Drinks. 
She was a feeder. You could tell it the 
first time you saw her. Here was a 

She worked so many jobs you couldn't 
keep up with her. You'd walk into a nice 
place and look around. Maybe Wenda 
would be there. Behind the bar. In the 
kitchen. Maybe over at the make-up stand. 
You never knew. Wenda was everywhere. 
I saw her over at the Ferrari place selling 
Ferrari. Next week it was Maserati. 
She was ubiquitous. 
She sold to one clientele though. That 
was the string that pulled it all together, 
the thread in the melee. He had computer 
money. He lived down in the valley. Usu- 
ally he was wearing argyles and some form 
of the updated classic. Button down shirts 
with an extra crease in the sleeve. Penny 
loafer in ostrich. Shetlands that were hand 
krut in Hong Kong. You couldn't miss them. 
Go to the place where they were, and there 
was Wenda, ready to serve. 

Wenda knew new money. Everybody 
said so. Lamborghini money. 

On Saturdays she was off and she was 
down at the Cafe Portola. She was at the 
bar hanging with the other giris who drank 
Kirs. They aJ! had make-up on back to 
their ears and they all tried to dress like 
Wenda. All forty of them I ever saw tried 
to look like Wenda. Wenda clones I called 
them. They had french bags with initials, 
Louie Bags, and tapered pants too short; 
so it made their legs look too long. You 
could tell a Wenda from a mile away. They 
all wanted those french legs. 

They were all phonies though. They were 

all trying to copy the real thing. I never 

even looked one of them in the eye. I 

never even bought one a drink. 

Graphic by 

|R Swanson 

Wenda was California. From the top of 
her yellow head to the bottom of her 
ankle bracelet. It was California through 
and through. Wenda was from Chicago. 
That made her because she was a trans- 
plant living in San Francisco. She had that 
transient sensuality. A shark after the soft 
wear boys, a pursuer of new issues and 
prospectuses. A Ten D peeker. What they 
call a Wall Street Watcher. 

She had that little Mercedes bought with 
all her boutique money, and it was as shiny 
as her skin. You couldn't separate her from 
the car. It was like another layer of face 

But why be disdainful. She was my only 
lover. She left me so now I call her the 
Wenda machine, and I look at all the girls 
and I think Wenda Wenda Wenda. Every- 
body looks like Wenda. 

She sold me expensive trousers and a 
new car. She sold me Napa Valley. Wenda 
had everything. I'm thinking what do I 
need. A cruvinet? 

I decide— if I take her down from the 
ankle diamonds on the bracelet, and strip 
off the red lacquer from the finger, wipe 
off the buff on the lips so it won't glow 
any more, strip it down to the real, layer 
it off until you can't find any more layers, 
then maybe I'll find it underneath— What's 
the real Wenda? 

Wednesday my friend Harry says, "We 
go down to the Portola. We take a Wenda 
clone, maybe two Wenda clones, and we 
take them home. Then we see what's 
underneath, right?" I said "why not. 
What's it matter since they're all impostors 

We got two. Wenda one and Wenda 
two. Harry got two and I took one. You 
couldn't tell them apart though. We started 
from the top with the hair stripper. Off 
with the blonde. We scrubbed down to the 
black. Then the face— all the way down 
to the pimples. Here they are, one and two 
Wenda, on the bed, layed out, scrubbed 
clean. And what. They still look alike, like 
all the other Wendas. Taken from their 
body, dismembered, if you will, on the 
sheets they're still identical. Harry says, 
"Now what?" 

"It proves to me one thing," I say. 

"What's that?" Harry says. He's still got 

some Wenda all over him. Lipstick on the 

cheek that he's wiping. 

'^^ .^-^^ ,^ _ 

'Oi: .'ija- _,-^ 



"It proves that you take them apart, 
piece by piece, meticulous, scrub them un- 
til you can see yourself and the skin comes 
off, and they're still Wenda. You can't get 
any farther. Im beginning to think we 
made a mistake." 

Harry scratches his head. He was sure 
we were going to find something. He was 
sure there was something in these Wendas 
that would give off a clue, as to — Why 
Wenda! "Maybe you got to go out and 
find the real Wenda, bring her back here 
and then open her up. After all what sepa- 
rates the real from the fake? " 

I have to agree with him. It's like the dif- 
ference: image and reality, sign and sig- 
nifier. "Where am I going to find her?" I 
throw up my hands. 

"We'll look," Harry says. What more 
can he say. 

So every day I'm in the city looking. 
Wilkes, Saks, MacArthur Park. All the 
holes, water or not. I'm fishing. The real 
Wenda, and I'm wondering will I recog- 
nize her when I see her, now that there are 
so many fake ones I've been through. It's 
going to be a test, rigorous eye exami- 

But what else do I have to do with my- 
self. Harry says, "Go to work. Develop 
more machines. The season's coming. The 
shows in Las Vegas. You've got to have a 
new machine. " I'm thinking how can I 
think of chips with Wenda on my mind. 

All winter I work on the new machine 
to get it ready for the show and the New 
York guys. I hate New York guys, but 
without them, no Wenda. The Wendas 
would disappear without the New York 

"Maybe Wenda is in New York," Harry 

"Very funny." Harry is the system archi- 
tect and he's too fat with stock. I say, 
"Get serious Harry." 

Harry is laughing up a storm at the key- 
board. He's like the Bukowski of Portola 
Valley with his schemes and sense of hum- 
or. "You're a beatnik. " I tell him. 

So with the spring approaching I'm in 
full gear. Up to thr city in the Wenda car, 
wearing the Wenda pants, and the Wenda 
horn rims. I'm in the Wenda mode. Over 
to the party on Pacific. I can feel it. This 
is going to be the night. I'm going to get 

There are a million Wendas; you've got 
to swim through them, and I'm on an ody- 
ssey. I meet two in the bathroom tooting 
through two dollar bills. This is it. "You 
seen Wenda? " They both smile. It's that in- 
viting Wenda smile. But I don't buy it. Im- 
postors. The humor is wearing thin," I tell 

Over near the bar there's a Wenda pour- 
ing drinks. Now that's more like it. A start- 
ing out Wenda, not an already-made-it 
Wenda. A Wenda of the proletariat, a 
proto Wenda. 

"Hi. Let me have your specialty. " This 
works with a Wenda. 

Campari on the rocks, she pours. No 
Wenda here. 

There is the pit near the barbecue where 
three Wendas are sunning themselves. I'm 
hot I tell myself. One whiff of the perfume 
though and I know, no Wenda here, 

I'm ready to give up and head back to 
the valley when I see her. Wouldn't one 
know it. When all the Wendas are spent 
the real Wenda appears. 

She's an upper Wenda. No pants but a 
Gallagous dress. She's been with the six 
million dollar option man for sure. She's 
reeking with fresh money. I'm thinking I 
see him and I know it's her. Pop his head 
in my face and bango I know it. The Net- 
work king for the day. He used to fix 
laundry machines before he invented net- 
working. It's the buzzword now. Every- 
body wants it. Networking. I'm passe. 

Where is the fiend? 

"Wenda," I say, throwing caution to 
the wind. 



"I can't believe it!" 

It's Wenda all right, the real one. I'm 
thinking what now. Harry where are you? 

Wenda machine kiss. Big with the lips. 
"I've been looking for ages," I say. "Now 
I've got to show you." 

We're already walking to the car. She 
thinks it'll be a remembered one for our 
sake in the back of the Wenda machine. 
Networking is working and not even here. 
She doesn't know from nothing. Dumb 
Wenda as usual. 

Down south we go, out of the city, to 
the Skyline and up to the house. We're out 
of the car and I'm thinking, first in the tub 
for the wash, then the scraping. She's 
kissing at my ear. 




"Harry get over here," I say. I'm in the 
John with the John phone. "The real Wenda 
is here." 

I entertain until Harry comes with the 
tools. We're undressed when he arrives 
and she's screaming. Typical Wenda move, 
the guarded life. I had enough of it years 

"Take her down Harry. Let's go from 
the top. Bathtub first." 

"Christ," Wenda is saying. "I've never 
been this humiliated." 

Harry is scrubbing. Best scrubbing I've 
ever seen. No folicle goes unturned. 

"NONONON." She is laughing and 
screaming and crying. Just like a Wenda. 

"This it," Harry is saying. He's got the 
industrial stripper in his hand. I can see it 
now. We both are looking. We both are 
awed. The real Wenda; it's coming 
through. Harry is dancing. "I told you. 
The real Wenda would reveal. 

Wenda has fainted now. Too over- 
whelmed to witness her own revealing, her 
own uncovering. Mystery of womankind 
right here, unveiled in the Wenda room in 
front of the valley boys. "Chipped out, " 
Harry says. "You can't put it in words. 
One has to see it. No narrative can tell." 
It was exactly what I was thinking. I had 
to second. 

You can't tell a Wenda by its cover. 
You can't tell one by its impostor. You've 
got to get the real Wenda and open her up 
to see. Then it's untranslatable, like Christ 
in flesh. 

We're popping the champagne for the 
Wenda machine. Picture two guys, self- 
made guys, sitting around at the top of the 
Skyline with the secret of womankind. 
The Wenda secret, the reality principle. 
Harry says, "Wow O." I don't know what 
he's talking about. He's overwrought. 

But it's profound. I sit back and feel the 
tears. Like Quixote after the quest. Over. 


I have ended the search and we have dug 
down to find the real Wenda. First thing 
I'm thinking — How to profit. Maybe give 
a call to Biogen and snap up the Wenda 
patent. Harry's got the gene right in his 
hand now. Just staring at it. No more fake 
Wenda. We've got real Wenda. He's hand- 
ling it like a peach pit, rolling it in his fat 
little fingers and rubbing at the creases. It's 
a new industry — birth of the Wenda in- 
dustry — two guys in a house up above the 

"Stop fingering the Wenda gene," I tell 
him. It makes me nervous. Harry is the 
homiest guy I know. He can't stop look- 

"Sorry," he says, "but I'm overwhelmed. 
They're never going to believe this at the 

"You're not going to tell anyone," I 
say. "No squash shit bragging." 

"O.K. O.K." 

I can see the New York guys drooling. 
It's in my head. The newspaper headline, 
the interviews. More People press. A re- 
turn to grace for two has-beens. I'll win 
her back from Networking. It's all in my 

Then Wenda wakes up. A temporary 
lapse. She's disoriented and drunk, and 
she shrieks when she looks at herself in the 
mirror. Just lets out the meanest scream 
you ever heard, "MY MAKE— UP!" You'd 
think she was witnessing Hiroshima. 

It's so deafening we have to cover our 
ears. She is running around the room like 
a new plucked chicken. It is a terrible sight, 
and Harry has still got the gene in his 
fingers. I don't want to say it was pretty. 
It sobered us up for sure; knocked the 
stuffings and the Roter out of our heads. 
We were split and scared. Womankind in 

the real. She was looking at herself, the 
real Wenda. Too much for her. 

"Calm her down," Harry says. 

It was understatement like Harry never 
has. She's over the balcony and falling 
down to the gravel before we can do a thing. 
Carcass and all. One look was all it took. 

"Cops," Harry says. "They'll believe us." 
He hoists the gene. 

I'm broken up and crying, leaning on 
the cedar pool, and letting the tears out 
for the first time. The real Wenda is gone 
and I killed her. 

"All in the name of truth, " Harry says, 
and pats my back. ""Listen pal, it was in 
the name of science and mankind, in the 
name of bio-tech. " Platonic ideal he even 
tries. Nothing works though. I'm crying 
over my Wenda till the cops come. My 
poor Wenda. And Harry has to do all the 

""Genes! Genes! " he is screaming. 

It was hopeless. Cuffed steel. They lead 
us out. The Wenda murderers. All over 
the valley that's what they call us. The 
Wenda killers. Every Wenda hates us now. 
But we've got the gene and we convinced 
the judge. He termed it suicide. It was a 
male verdict. The women wanted murder, 
not manslaughter. They wanted the full 
thrashings of the law on us. 

Instead I'm fat with the Wenda gene, the 
exclusive. I'm living with our first manu- 
facture, Wenda-sub one, and it's like 
beauty. Call it technology. I like to think 
we've replaced the need for sentiment. 
Now it's pure manufacture. She's user 
friendly like never before, my Wenda. 

-by James Pollack 



mmm j mm} y m^\mm^:i^^^^ ^ 


663- AIDS 

^, <T' i i\*\' J y.°['^'^^^^^"!}9 Qt the AIDS Hotline I'-^ivi" ;'- Vi- U 


^ -r . « 




ow many cases of AIDS 
have been reported in Kentucky?" 

"Can you hold while I look that up?" I 
turn to the printout at the front of the 
AIDS Hotline Encyclopedia. "OK, looking 
at the Center for Disease Control list here, 
it shows Kentucky as the 39th highest state 
at 56 reported cases." 

"Really? Well, how about Georgia?" 
"Georgia is 9th with 148 reported cases." 
"Can you look up Oregon?" "25th with 
101 cases." 'Delaware, what's Delaware?.. " 

The woman asks for at least 5 more 
states before I finally ask why she wants 
to know. "Are you writing an article?" 
"No, uh, I just want to know. ' 

Perhaps she is just idly curious. But I 
suspect she wants to know where to move 
to be "safe. " But I'll never know for sure. 
All 1 can do is give out the information. 
It's up to the receiver to determine how 
she wants to use it. 

I've been vclunteenng at the ban hran- 
cisco AIDS Foundation hotline for a few 
months now. I do it because it is a good 
way to keep up on AIDS research, treat- 
ment, education and politics. I do it be- 
cause I think education is the best way to 
stop the spread of the disease. 

Hotline workers go through an intensive 
16-hour training that covers the gamut of 
the epidemic: the biology of the AIDS 
virus, immunology, safe sex, safe needles, 
talking comfortably about sex, communi- 
ty resources. At the start of each shift, 
each hotline worker reads through the 
"This Week" section to find out what's 
new in the "Encyclopedia," a looseleaf 
compendium of articles, memos, brochures 
arranged by subject. The subjects include 
things like: oral sex, opportunistic infec- 
tions, alternative treatments, women and 

The calls are a steady test of how much 
I've absorbed. At least once very fifteen 
minutes, sometimes three or four times in 

a row, someone calls up wanting to know 
where to get the AIDS antibody test. 
Quick, easy, boring. I have the San Fran- 
cisco number memorized, and I'm a person 
who barely knows his own phone number. 
California has set up anonymous testing 
sites in most regions. Instead of using 
names, the patient is assigned a number 
that is used through the whole process 
of counseling, testing, disclosing results. 
The test is conclusive and can alleviate 
fears. It's especially useful in cases like 
where the caller guiltily obsesses about a 
one night stand they had three years ago. 
When the test was first announced, some 
feared it would be used for work and 
insurance screening. Some people stupidly 
and callously use it for selecting lovers. 
The test is a good thing, but open for 

I like the sex calls best. Not that they're 
titillating; they're mostly matter of fact, 
humorless even. People take their sex lives 

■• * » w I y . y y y y ^^^^ 



very seriously. I'm touched by the way 
people pursue pleasure in a repressive pe- 
riod: the guy in Georgia who likes to go to 
strip joints, the married woman in Sacra- 
mento who has a lover in San Francisco 
who she understands "lives quite the wild 
life, " the straight guy in Walnut Creek 
who likes to go home with men "now and 
then, when I'm in the mood." I talk with 
them about what they do, and how they 
can do it with less risk. Condoms, con- 
doms, condoms. It's probably safe to kiss, 
here's why. Please, go right ahead and use 
that dildo, as long as you don't share it. 

The hotline is getting more and more 
calls about using drug needles. These call- 
ers are not incoherent, crazed freaks. 
And while frequent bouts of safe sex are 
probably healthier than frequent bouts of 
intravenous methadrine, like with the sex 
calls, these people have found something 
that gives them pleasure and they want to 
know how to do it safely. We tell the call- 
ers to plunge the needle in a bleach and 
water solution, as little as 1 part bleach 
to 10 parts water works. Afterwards, draw 
water up and out at least twice to clean 
the works out; bleach can be very caustic 
to veins. I had a caller protest that the 
bleach also breaks down the needle's rub- 
ber stopper, which must be true. The best 
solution would be to legalize over the 
counter sale of needles, or even free needle 
distribution. But the drug moralists would 
rather see long painful deaths from AIDS 
than allow the easy obtaining of "para- 
phenalia. " 

Some things I hate. I hate when the TV 
cameras come to film. The reporters are 
very distracting. I remember talking to a 
man who thought he had caught AIDS 
from his girlfriend. He wanted to beat her 
up — a touchy emotional scene. All the 
while cameras were filming my 'live 
drama.' I was trying to focus on this caller, 
but felt oddly self-conscious, like every 


FROM THE 5F AIDS Foundotion 

— SAFE— 

" Mutual masturbation (mole or female) 

• Social kissing (dry) 

• Body mossoge, hugging 

• Dody-to-body rubbing 

• Light S G M activities (without bruising 
or bleeding) 

• Using one's own sex toys 


• Anal intercourse with condom 

• Fellatio interruptus (sucking— stop 
before climax) 

• Mouth-to-mouth kissing (wet) 

• Urine contoct (wotersports) 

• Voginal intercourse with condom 

• Oral-vaginal contact (cunnilingus) 


• [deceptive onol intercourse without 
condom (being fucked) 

• Insertive onol intercourse without 
condom (fucking) 

• Monuol-onol intercourse (fisting) 
■» Fellatio (sucking) 

• Orol-onol contact (rimming) 

• Voginal intercourse without condom 


word was being excruciatingly judged. I 
couldn't concentrate; the call ended badly. 
Television may be the ultimate means of 
mass communication; but mass media is 
mass voyeurism, using other people's 
trauma to titillate a population of couch 

The AIDS Foundation's Media Director 
is the worst sort of self-important boss. 
She orders vol-.-ateers around in a way 
that no one else would dare, or perhaps 
care to. When she's not being a bruiser, 
she's a human smile button, using all the 
tricks out of the How to Manipulate Peo- 

ple book. The chapter she forgot to read is 
"How Not To Be Obvious." 

The Foundation is a bureaucracy. It 
may be "politically progressive, gay sym- 
pathetic, equal opp." [sic), maybe even 
self-critical. But it's still a bureaucracy 
with all the impulses toward self-preser- 
vation and self-importance. The slavish- 
ness to mass media and the consequent 
distortion of the Media Director's per- 
sonality is one expression of this. Another 
expression is a survey released earlier this 
year. The survey inflated the AIDS carrier 
base among the Bay Area heterosexual 
population. It supported an argument that 
the Bay Area needed a larger educational 
campaign. Of course the Foundation 
would be the contractor for a huge por- 
tion of this campaign — institutional pre- 
servation overrides the real truth. 

Despite these problems, I'm drawn back 
week after week. I like the busy days best, 
the days when the calls come in at a man- 
ageable pace — not too fast, not too many 
long gaps. If it's too busy, I leave feeling 
on edge. At my last shift, I fielded more 
than 20 calls during a three hour shift. 
By the end, I felt like an overworked 
Bell operator, checking myself from being 
too snappy, not always succeeding. 

Slow days can be pleasant, if the other 
hotline workers are amiable. It's odd 
though. I guess because the calls set such 
a strong emotional tone, I develop strong 
feelings about other workers, even though 
I see them maybe once for three hours 
every three weeks and hardly talk to them 
even then. If I run into a coworker I 
like on the street, it's instant ease and 
friendliness. If I run into one I dislike, I 
skirt around, avoiding them Hke an old 
boyfriend from whom I parted awkwardly. 

My life was a lot less busy when I 

started working at the hotline. I should 

stop. But I'm still answering calls. ^ 

—By Mark Leger /'D 

howdowti wiih ih-t pois 'todsy ■ £e £>ure io inclult in your oat-fit. 


leoltr^jii t>hoeline,rs . ^ second clif of ammuniiion. 




ollice worker rests in a sleeping device called a "Cerebrex" tor quick recovery 
Irom fatigue at the Oyasumido-koro Salon that opened m Tokyo last summer. Using it 
for an hour is equivalent to eight hours' sleep, claims Japanese inventor Dr. Yoshiro 
Nakamatsu, winner of the 1 986 International Invention Grand Prix. 



fciabor relations? We are pleased 
to announce that in 1985 we were 
again successful in having no labor re- 
lations." This remark did not actually 
come from an executive of the Can- 
adian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 
but from someone dressed up as one. 
Last January on the day of the Bank's 
annual shareholder meeting its women 
employees on strike in the Bank's Visa 
section in Toronto, and their support- 
ers, staged their own mock sharehold- 
ers' meeting. It looked like an annual 
meeting and they talked like bankers, 
but the content was definitely differ- 
ent. There were i-eports from the strike, 
and unionists posed as bank execu- 
tives producing the kind of statements 
they believed the Bank should have 
been making. "High profits?" reported 
one, "It's all because of our guiding 
principle: demand from others that 
they sacrifice for the general good 
while we pursue whatever is necessary 
for our own self-interest." 

The mock annual meeting, though light- 
hearted, was not just a joke. It was part of 
a well planned and brilliantly run cam- 
paign by the women bank workers in a 


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continued next page 


seven-month strike for union recognition 
which has linked industrial action with 
media pressure, consumer and creditor 
boycotts and legislative lobbying. Across 
town, at the real annual meeting, the Can- 
adian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the 
second largest bank in Canada, was ac- 
tually announcing a 28% profit rise over 
1984 and salaries for its top 165 officers 
averaging $112,000 each last year. 

Such announcements only hardened 
the women's resolve to continue the strike 
against Commerce. They had received no 
across-the-board salary increase for five 
years, although favorite employees had re- 
ceived up to 30% more on a merit basis. The 
average wage in the Visa section is $18,000 
a year and some women only earn $12,000. 
Women workers had unsuccessfully com- 
plamed to management about increasing 
sexual harrassment from supervisors, and 
there were other complaints about job se- 
curity and new technology. It was the 
Bank's refusal to listen to these grievances 
that led 100 women to walk out of their 
office on June 12, 1985. When other women 
in the section realized a strike had started 
they quickly joined in, including 60 women 
from the mail room. 

That such a strike should take place at 
all is quite extraordinary. 

Of the country's 150,000 bank employ- 
ees, 90% of whom are women, only about 
1% are unionized. The women at Commerce 
did not have any union membership when 
they decided to walk out. However, they 
soon joined the newly formed Union of 
Bank Employees. The Union, though small 
and relatively weak, was set up specific- 
ally to organize bank workers. 

To fight such a giant as the Commerce 
the women realized they would need help. 
They went to the Canadian United Auto 
Workers (UAW) union and asked for sup- 
port. They got it. The UAW provided full- 
time officers to help with the organizing, 
and the Canadian Labor Congress provided 
$300 a day strike pay. 

While Canadian unions came to their 
help, the women themselves devised some 
entirely new strike tactics, which were to 
astound more traditional labor organizers. 
The most effective of these was what the 
strikers came to call "electronic picket- 
ing." Using their knowledge of computer 
systems, the women set a computerized 
automatic redialling system to continu- 
ously call the bank. These jammed the 
Bank's switchboard with up to 50,000 calls 
a day, each giving a recorded message of 
the strike demands. Other calls were set to 
emit an excruciatingly high pitch whistle 
of the kind fitted to deter "heavy breath- 

Unions in the meantime were persuaded 
to withdraw their accounts from the Bank 
which then saw $15 million worth of its 
business disappear. 

On another occasion the strikers asked 
someone to open an account. The strikers 

and supporters then lined up in the Bank at 
peak business time on a Saturday, for what 
they called a "bank-a-thon, " each to de- 
posit one cent in the account. As the bank 
counters choked up and customers milled 
around the foyer, strikers sang their theme 
song "Bank Busters " and handed out 
"Marie Antoinette Cake " to the delayed 
customers, in recognition of the Bank's 
"let them eat cake " attitude and by way of 
compensation for the long queues. A tele- 
vision camera crew who began to film these 
events got hauled out of the Bank by se- 
curity guards. By the time the Bank re- 
fused to accept anything more into the ac- 
count there was a total balance of $18. 

The strikers have been adept at using the 
media and have staged other well-timed 
and imaginative protests. The mock an- 
nual meeting was one such action. Anoth- 
er was when they showered the Bank's 
central lobby with a confetti storm of 
thousands of deposit slips while they hand- 
ed out leaflets with their demands to the 
customers. In December, customers were 
serenaded with christmas carols putting 
over the women's case. The women pre- 

sented the bank managers with bread and 
roses— bread for the workers' low wages 
and roses for their dignity being denied — 
symbols now commonly used by women 
workers in North America to express their 

Throughout the strike, the bank refused 
to negotiate with the women workers or 
accept any kind of indef)endent arbitration. 
But the tactics of the women and the deter- 
mination of the Canadian labor movement 
to keep financial support for the strike 
going began to tell. The Bank started to 
make noises about re-opening talks, but 
still refused mediation. Eventually, as the 
campaign brought the dispute continually 
into the news, the Canadian Labor Relation 
Board stepped in and enforced a settle- 
ment. On January 28, after seven months 
on strike, the crowd of women packed into 
a church meeting hall in a Toronto suburb. 
They erupted into emotional screams, 
whistles and cheers when they heard that 
they had won a union contract. With hugs 
and tears they passed around picket signs 
to be autographed by all their coworkers. 

The contract is the start rather than the 

uf£;i.tHAr Aprt^^^MN.frtE cold wm 



end of the fight. It is a contract imposed 
by the Labor Relations Board, not the 
women, although it contains many of their 
demands. It also only lasts for a year. 

The unions feel the imposition of the 
contract is a real step forward, however. 
One organizer in the new Union of Bank 
Employees said, "I've got 1,500 people sit- 
ting right here now in Toronto waiting for 
the outcome of this before they decide 
whether to join. " The banks and finance 
houses also see the decision as a dangerous 
breakthrough for the unions. Mike Walsh, 
a bank analyst with First Marathon Secur- 
ities Ltd., told the Toronto Globe and Mail 
that he expects many companies to try and 
improve conditions in order to forestall 
unionization. But he added, "I'm not sure 
a couple more company picnics will do it... 
The unions have now established a beach- 
head, and it's not just a beachhead against 
Commerce, it's against financial service 
companies in general. 

— Anne Simpson 

Reprinted from International Labor Re- 
ports, P.O. Box 5036, Berkeley, CA 94705. 

Why I 


have spent the last three years of 
my job life as a corporate pariah, i.e., 
a word processing temp. I have worked 
for many financial district corpora- 
tions, promiscuously moving from de- 
partment to department, company to 
company. I do it for the money. We 
temps are usually viewed as the gyp- 
sies were in medieval Europe: a wild, 
undisciplined lot with odd customs, 
ill-suited to stability. In the course of 
my wanderings 1 have encountered 
a ubiquitous configuration of pro- 
cessed people— aggressive yuppies. 

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continued next page 

plastic-smiling neurotics, and spineless 
bureaucrats. The most redoubtable 
character in this wornout scenario is 
the middle manager. 

The middle manager has no real basis 
for power. He or she may loom majestic 
and terrible, even stalinistic about non- 
conformism, but his or her authority rests 
on the shaky foundation of a "profes- 
sional " image. The middle manager is thus 
vulnerable to a certain act that certainly 
disrupts a humdrum life and may dethrone 
him or her altogether. 

The act in question is humiliation. I 
have developed and refined several venge- 
ful strategies that counteract the middle 
manager's tyranny. This sort of vengeance 
is a savory pleasure to contemplate. In- 
trinsically rewarding, it is a good, healthy 
way to expel pent-up anger and right 
some wrongs in the corporate hellhole. 

My seeming messiah complex developed 
during the summer I slaved as a temp 
word processor/secretary for the anal- 
retentive, tax-accountant director of a 
starchy corporation. Mr. Wilson was a 
pale man, with thick horned spectacles, 
who spoke slowly and deliberately. No 
detail was too inconsequential for his 
probing, fastidious mind. No errant paper 
clip or old status report cluttered his sen- 
sible desk. The only human touch in his 
stark office was a photo of his homely 
wife and children. 

I knew I was in trouble from the start. 
I had noted that all the secretaries were 
pretty, young, and female. The accoun- 
tants were old, gray, and joyless. Striving 
to appear productive and genuinely con- 
cerned with the color-coded filing system, 
I feigned remorse when confronted with 
errors, that is, professional lapses. Before 
long I knew I would be ready for primal 
scream therapy. 

In the meantime there were crossword 
puzzles. Outraged accountants reported 
me to Mr. Wilson in due course, and 
being completely caught up was no excuse. 
A temp is a costly expense, Mr. Wilson 
told me, and must never be seen idle. 
The remedy he advocated was filing, fi- 
ling, and more filing. 

Then he studied me silently for a mo- 
ment, gathering his thoughts. How long 
had 1 worked as a temp? he asked cau- 
tiously. Why so long? Wasn't I interested 
in a permanent job? What did my parents 
say about this? Did I have problems with 
interviews? Shaken by my responses, he 
prescribed assertiveness training. 

I was caught off guard. I saw red. I 
wanted to lash out. I could hardly refrain 
from taking a swing at this constipated 
curmudgeon; only my ringing phone pre- 
vented it. 

In the ensuing weeks Mr. Wilson con- 
tinued to pick away at my dignity with 
pointed questions. He freely dispensed 
unsolicited advice vis-a-vis my professio- 
nalism, maturity, and masculinity. 


By the assignment's end I had master- 
minded his humiliation. Having purchased 
an assortment of explicit color magazines 
depicting unspeakable sex acts — Wildean 
wonders, sapphic secrets, and bestial bon- 
dings — I sent them to his suburban home. 
The following dedication accompanied 
them: To Herbert Wilson, the kinkiest 
man in San Francisco, love Lulu." Because 
I had stamped "confidential" all over the 
envelope, I envisioned his curious wife 
standing beside him as he opened it. When 
I coincidentally ran into Mr. Wilson on 
the street I found him paler and thinner 
than I remembered him. 

Louise Shapiro was another insufferable 
boss, her head inflated by her title of vice- 
president. She had the arrogance of Marie 
Antoinette and the tact of Attila the Hun. 
During my first week her sneaky eyes were 
continuously upon me, and she repeated- 
ly asked me if I was busy. Before long I 
learned that her sycophantic staff ri- 
tualistically laughed at her attempts at hu- 
mor and rushed to do her bidding. Her 
groveling analysts submitted reports that 
she marked up with arbitrary and unne- 

cessary changes. As her word processor, I 
discovered that she had shabby writing 
skills and a limited grasp of grammar and 
spelling. Louise Shapiro often used words 
not found in a standard dictionary, words 
she made up. Whenever I pointed out dis- 
crepancies shed glare and snap, "they 
know what we mean." She routinely be- 
littled her black secretary. With imperious 
disdain she'd toss an unsatisfactory report 
at her and urge her to type faster. 

I resolved to punish Louise Shapiro. I 
wrote a memo on official stationery to the 
company's CEO on her behalf. The memo 
opens with her support and admiration for 
his perseverance in a stormy financial cli- 
mate. It steams ahead into "I think you're 
full of style and savvy. Everything about 
you excites me. I'd love to meet you for 
some after-hours interfacing. Baby, you 
can deposit in my account, but remem- 
ber, substantial penalty for early with- 
drawal." I duplicated her signature and 
mailed it in an interoffice envelope. 

Success! When the CEO office con- 
tacted her, she burst into a hot, angry 
tantrum of tears, slamming her office door 

': COPf WiTkl THf LC^i of Tuf 

To be continued next issue 


and not emerging the rest of the day. 
Her arrogance was subsequently restrained 
and her rudeness more sparing. No doubt 
she lived in daily fear of more humiliation. 
So how could I withhold it? I had a friend 
call her up at three in the morning, saying 
that he was answering her ad in an adult 
magazine for swinging couples. 

In another impossible temp assignment, 
I encountered Poodle Woman, an habi- 
tually grouchy vice-president of a financial 
department. No less than eleven photos of 
her pet poodle adorned her office walls. 

My role had been described as secre- 
tarial, but I soon learned that I was to 
fetch water for her, bring her coffee while 
in conference, and pay her department's 
bills — the latter a bookkeeping function 
for which I hadn't been trained. For many 
days I managed to "overlook" these sup- 
plementary duties. She would not allow 
any personal phone calls and would blanch 
if she saw a folded newspaper on my 
desk. One of her assistants once spotted 
a pile of envelopes (my own) on my desk. 
"Oh!" she shrieked, "Don't let her see you 
with those on your desk!" One would 
think I had soiled underwear on display. 

The final straw was Poodle Woman's 
summoning me into her office to reiterate 
office policy concerning phone calls and 
personal business at work. I surmised that 
Poodle Woman was not satisfied with my 
error-free, 90 words-per-minute word pro- 
cessing but demanded submission to her 
will in all matters. Meanwhile, my atten- 
tion was diverted by the many photos of 
her beloved poodle. 

How was I to punish this poodophiliac 
dominatrix? From the rolodex on my desk, 
I had already found her address and Visa 
card number. Then I spotted a hair care 
magazine nearby and, reminded of her 
poodles, sent away for a large, afro stretch 
wig to be sent to her place of work and 
charged to her Visa. Consider the indig- 
nity. Picture the discomfort of a middle- 
aged, conservative, white woman when 
she received this wig in front of her col- 

Humiliation is the temp's ultimate wea- 
pon in the corporate world. Its very na- 
ture — low, sneaky, and vicious — well re- 
flects many middle managers — and thus 
allows for some poetic justice in this 
troubled world. And why take out office- 
generated hostility on loved ones and 
friends when you can return it to its 
source? If you should decide to humiliate, 
go to it with relish. Punish the bastards. 
Entertain like-minded friends with tales of 
your exploits and become known as a folk 
hero. A good humiliation is the stuff of 

by Frangois Oyar 


Morales et al: 

Although I found that Processed World 
did have its good moments, I'm afraid 
those moments were too occasional for 
me to renew my subscription. 

The number of memorable items 1 
found in the past year was smaller than I 
had hoped. In Issue 16 there were the 
two short pieces, "Liveware" and Silicon 
Valley Girl," which were notable for 
their freshness and wit. Issue 15 gave 
"Road Warriors and Road Worriers," 
whose subject matter had the virtue of 
novelty. The Herbert Kohl interview in 
Issue l4 offered expert knowledge. And 
every issue had interesting tidbits of 
news and information. 

But oh my! what else there was. 
There was just too much in the style of 
"Pressures of the Assembly Line" (Issue 
16): the daily grind of an employee who 
dislikes his job. So much bad poetry, 
too. And so many platitudes from Marx's 
kindergarten. The bluster annoyed me. 
To cap it all off, most of the writing 
was inferior. 

1 think Processed World is, at heart, a 
union magazine, aimed at a small market, 
industry-specific and California-based. I 
had hoped to find a magazine which pro- 
vided more thoughtful and broadminded 
critiques of the advent of the Infor- 
mation Age, using good research and 
plausible theorizing. I wish you luck in 
the enterprise you have chosen. 

Yours sincerely, 
D.S. — Toronto, Ont. 


Dear Processed World. 

Someday your magazine will self- 
destruct from terminal boredom, or your 
LSD-nightmare graphics will give your 
regular readers brain tumors. Pieces by 
the likes of D.S. Black and Tom Clark 
are superior and worthy, but as for the 
rest of it, I can only ask: how long can 
you go on publishing such insufferably 
banal writing— writing that is as boring 
as the work written about — writing that 
is nothing more than runny-shit com- 
plaining by irate and frustrated workers? 
Most of them are probably no more 
than sniveling fuck-offs to begin with 
who haven't been laid in months. 

It is such an old and tiresome tale; an 
obsessive theme, I agree, having just 
spent the last ten years as an office 
drudge in downtown San Francisco. 
■V'our mag does not lack in obsession, 

but it does lack in one very important 
quality, for the most part: 'VISION. 

Charles Bukowski's FACTOTUM and 
POST OFFICE, George Orwell's DOWN 
Jim Daniel's book of poems, PLACES/ 
EVERYONE, detail the essential bleak 
hell of working without the luxury of 
self-pity. They are basic, lyric evocations 
of the workaday world minus the "Woe 
is me" attitude that so many people 
think is fashionable to sport. 

There is a current trend in media to 
glorify the American worker, a truly ob- 
noxious and vulgar trend. Whether fac- 
tory redneck or computer yuppie, there 
is no glory in spiritually barren work for 

And yet by some weird, ass-backward 
logic, your journal, through the constant 
bellyaching and criticism of work, some- 
how .seems to me to end up as nothing 
more than an unconscious mouthpiece 
for the Protestant Work Ethic. 

I think you are a capitalist plot. 

What do the people who write and 
read your magazine really want? It ap- 
pears that they have already dead-ended, 
in more ways than one. One must create 
one's own alternatives. Working, 
through an almost superhuman effort of 
the will and imagination, must become 
juicy grist for the creative mill; it must 
be integrated into the whole cloth of 
life, not because it is relevant or neces- 
sary but because IT IS a part of life, 
however horrifying and brutal it often is. 
But then isn't life full of horrifying and 
brutal things? 

Maybe I just miss your point. Maybe 
you enjoy being crybabies. Some people 
just like to complain. It is a form of 

voiding oneself. Perhaps it is even sexual 
for some. 

My attitude is to go out and put in 
my time everyday without too much no- 
ticeable disintegration and to keep my- 
self sane enough to go home and enjoy 
a quality life, in my REAL life, at home 
with my wife, and doing my real work 
at the desk. 

You have to have a thousand perso- 
nalities to get through this trip. 

Life is short, work is long. For most 
of us, there is no escape from some kind 
of work. So what? Bruce Springsteen 
takes it in the ass. 

Alternatives; remember them? One 
choice is suicide. The other is up to you, 
to survive and create the dream worlds 
of your choice out of the raw mud of 
reality. Which is a lot of work. 

G. Sutton Breiding— S.F. 


Dear Processed World, 

When I saw the little yellow cover and 
the girl being rated "non-user friendly," 
I said. That's My Magazine. I now like 
the large format and thought the last 
issue that came to me was good. I liked 
Florence Burns and her quip about "de- 
signer typing." 

I do not subscribe to all the bitching 
that goes on in the magazine. Some of it 
makes one aware of problems. The VDT 
problem is blown out of proportion. 
There are ways of behaving around 
VDTs that will not result in poorer 
health. A brief break once an hour is 
not frowned on by my employer, and I 
take this break once an hour. 

Job satisfaction is what we all want, 
and I finally concluded today that you 
find that within yourself. I have a long 
processor history starting with the 
MTSTs in 1970. I am now in a processing 
job that I've had 8 years. I just found 
out that job satisfaction comes from your 
trying to be good at it. Do not be de- 
ceived by dull surroundings or dull copy. 
You don't have to be dull. Getting your 
typing skills (keyboard skills) to improve 
will start getting you job satisfaction. 
When a person types 90 or more words 
a minute, typing lengthy reports can be 
fun. I don't type that fast but I do aim 
at getting better and faster. Sometimes 
I stop and put my hands on splay, that 



means typing splay-fingered with each 
finger acting lilte a little rod, and this is 
good when you are spelling a difficult 
word or simply need a change from the 
curved finger mode. There's a lot of 
room for job satisfaction if you believe 
it can be done and if you work on 
methods to get really good at it. Do you 
know how bleak and unproductive wild 
nature can be? Then you will come grate- 
fully back to civilization and processing. 
J.K., a subscriber — S.F. 


Dear P.W., 

I'm a messenger for a theater. A few 
weeks ago I was making a pick-up at 
Citibank. While there I also picked up 

a poster distributed to potential and cur- 
rent androids. 1 decided to correct it a 
little, [.see belowj 

I've already distributed my altered ver- 
sion to the propaganda table where 1 
found the first one. 

P. W. does a lot toward making my 
50 -H hour work-week bearable. Keep up 
the good work. 

Love, Frieda People, NYC 

P.S. The original headline was "The Mir- 
ror of a Professional" (Gag!) 


Dear Processed World, 

I was happy to see the issue of animal 
rights raised in Processed World #16, 

The IVIirror of a Professional 

How long al 

3 nervous 
breakdown, 2 
heart attacks 

What Dapl.: 

World domi- 
nation and 

HI* coiloaun 

Fbch fascists 

and would like to take issue with a point 
regarding how animal experiments may 
be regulated in an enlightened society, 
in the article "When Should Curiosity 
Kill?" by Tony Lamanha. 

1 feel that regulating the use of ani- 
mals in experiments is like regulating 
the humane conditions of slaves. I, like 
Bernard Shaw, do not believe that you 
can settle whether an experiment is 
justified by demonstrating its usefulness 
(ends do not justify means). It is not a 
question of useful or useless experi- 
ments, but between barbarous and civi- 
lized behavior. Even if vivisection has 
advanced human knowledge, it has done 
so at the expense of human character. 

CM. — San Francisco 


Dear PW, 

Fear is un-American. It is, in fact, 
downright unpatriotic. When Americans 
sense a problem the first thing they do 
is declare war on the beast. We have 
seen the War on Drugs, the War on 
Crime, the War on Illiteracy, and the War 
on Poverty. We categorically condemn 
those not willing to fight these wars 
for us. Draft resisters of the 60's were 
condemned as cowards. A judge not 
willing to condemn a man to death is 
in turn condemned for being soft on 
crime. And Carter was cast out of the 
White House for not declaring war on 
Iran. After all, our cultural heroes are not 
the types to sit in a fallout shelter waiting 
for negotiations and peace in our time. 
We have the likes of John Wayne, six- 
guns blazing; Superman bouncing lethal 
trajectories off his chest; Mr. T grunting 
monosyllabically into the hearts and 
minds of the heartless and mindless; and 
Luke Skywalker? Does anyone need to 
be told where his story has taken us? 
Unfortunately, in spite of what many 
people, including our fearless leader, 
seem to believe; John Wayne is dead, 
this is not a Hollywood set, and no 
one will get up when the film stops 

As the problems grow more severe and 
as the feelings of hopelessness and fear 
increase, ever greater myths and heroes 
are needed to quell the instinct towards 
panic. So now we find ourselves with a 
new media hero. Look out, you folk- 
heroes of the past. Jesus Christ, Super- 
star is here to save us all! And when He 
saves someone, they stay saved. 

Americans are, at best, an intellectually 
lazy group. We know more about Jesse 
James, General Patton and the Son of 
Sam than we do about Thomas Jefferson, 
Ralph Waldo Emerson or Alexander 
Graham Bell. Why? Because the former 
make for better television. We want 
everything to be black and white, right 



How to Talk Like a 

1. Learn French No self-respecting situationist 
would dream ot not knowing it 

7. Always use the nnost obscure language possible 

Gel lots of big scholarly words from a dictionary and 

use them often. 

Poor: "Things are bad " 

Better: The formative mechanism of culture amounts 

to a reificalion of human activities which fixates the 

living and models the transmission of experience 

from one generation to another on the fransmission 

of commodities, a reification which strives to ensure 

the pasts domination over the future." 

3. In particular, the words "boredom" (as in "there's 
nothing they won't do to raise the standard of bore- 
dom"), "poverty" (of the university, of art), and 
"pleasure" are important tools in the young situa- 
tionist's hit, and use of them will greatly enhance 
your standing in the situationist community 

4. Make frequent reference to seventy-year-old art 
movements like Dado and Surrealism. Work the sub- 
ject into your conversations as often as possible, 
however irrelevant 

5. Vehemently attack The University " and "Art" 
whenever possib/e fphroses like "the scrap-heap of 
Art' or 'the stench of Art are particularly effective) 
Attend as prestigious a school os possible and make 
sure your circle of friends contains no less than 85 
per cent artists 

6. Cultivate a conceit and self-importance bordering 
on megalomania Take credit for spontaneous upris- 
ings in far-flung corners of the world, sneer at those 
who oppose or disagree with you 

7. Denounce and exclude people often Keep your 
group very small and exclusive — but take it for 
granted that every man, woman, and child in the 
Western Hemisphere is intimately familiar with your 
work, even if no more than ten people actually ore. 

8. Detournement Cut a comic strip out of the paper 
(serious strips like Terry and the Pirates and Mory 
Worth ore preferred), and change the dialogue Use 
lots of situationist language What fun! 

9. Use Marxian reverse-tolk This is a sure-fire way 
of alerting people to the fad thai you are a silualion- 
isl or are eager to become one "the irrationality of 
the spectacle spectacularizes rationality, " "separate 
production as production of the separate " 

10. Invoke "the proletariat," factories, and other 
blue-collar imagery os often os possible, but do not 
under any circumstances associate with or work with 
real proletarians (Some acceptable sifuationist /obs 
ore student, professor, artist.) 

11. By all means avoid such repugnant proletarian 
accoutrements os novelty baseball hats, rock group 
T-shirts, Garfield or Snoopy posters (no matter how 
"political"), and vulgar American cigarettes like Kent 
or Tareyton 

Fronn Shoe Polish Wee!', 195 Garfield PI. 2-L, Brooklyn, 
New York 11215. 

and wrong and it must have a simple, 
yet happy solution, preferably in 90 
minutes, including commercial interrup- 
tions. Forget the grey areas. Don't tell 
us who the hell we are supporting in 
Nicaragua or why, but do tell us when 
we have conquered the evil forces in 

So now, in the land of the free and 
the home of the brave, we cower in 
front of our television sets, watching for 
signs of salvation. To eliminate the fear 
of nuclear annihilation, the whole con- 
cept has been made justifiable by making 

it desirable. Why try to stop it? It's God's 
will. It's preordained. We can't stop it 
anyway. It's not death. It's salvation. 
Surrendering our lives to science seems 
to have created more problems than 
it is capable of solving. Surrendering to 
fear of the daily news has kept us behind 
locked doors and wondering what is 
in our drinking water besides hydrogen 
and oxygen. Surrendering to God allows 
us an air-tight excuse to sit on our col- 
lective ass and wait for the END. 

It is at first difficult to understand the 
logic used in the rambling monologues of 
the new electronic evangelists, but with 
time, a pattern emerges. Everything they 
say is carefully designed to make those 
viewers, especially those who are dona- 
ting hefty sums, feel superior in every 
way possible. In this way, they are able 
to further a social agenda structured to 
make the individual ever more depen- 
dent on them for constant behavioral 
direction. Allowing a crack of any kind 
into this shaky structure would send the 
audience scrambling for a new myth and 
the preachers running for Argentina. All 
logic is wrapped tightly around a patent- 
ly absurd premise and an even more ab- 
surd promise. Hence, there is constant 
encouragement to cling to a set of stories 
and parables of ancient times whose 
meanings are Silly Putty in the hands of 
those with a hard-on for wealth and 
power. The following is a partial list 
of the social agenda they are trying to 

l)We must reinstitute prayer in the 
public schools. This will insure another 
generation of mindless twits submitting 
to the wills and bank balances of the tee- 
vee preachers. (I have personal doubts 
as to the success of this technique as I 
was of the generation who was force- 
fed prayer in public schools and I have 
remained a devout agnostic in spite of it.) 

2) AIDS came along just in the nick of 
time. Now, in addition to the biblical 
ban on homosexuality, stemming no 
doubt from gross underpopulation of 
the time, which is hardly a problem we 
have today, there are alleged health 
reasons for condemning gay people. 
What a convenient way to show that 
God is raining a plague on the people 
who go against His will. Apparently, 
God is also rather ticked at Haitians and 

3) A lot of people are out of work and 
it's obviously a result of women joining 
the work force. Women belong in the 
home being good wives and mothers. 
What could be more meaningful than 
ironing? Just ask Phyllis Schlafly, a 
woman who has made a career of tell- 
ing women it is wrong to have a career. 

4) Abortion must be banned and the 
death penalty must be enforced. Right. 
Apparently one has to be born so as 
to have the opportunity to repent, be 

saved and give, give, GIVE. On the other 
hand, if someone should become a killer, 
they must pay a life for a life. This is as- 
suming, of course, that this killing didn't 
take place as a result of a God-sanctioned 
war. You know. The ones where we are 
fighting the "godless commies." Instead 
of shipping the Soviets grain, we should 
be sending them Gideon's surplus bibles. 
After all, it is for their "own good." 

5) Toxic waste, nuclear power, strip 
mining, and the list goes on ad nauseum. 
Don't sweat any of it. As James Watt 
so patiently pointed out, Armageddon 
is just around the corner so it doesn't 
matter that we passively allow Big Busi- 
ness to destroy the planet at this point 
as it will just be cosmic debris next 

6) Drugs, pornography, prostitution, 
rock & roll. ..Hey! We are talking 
MONEY with a capital S. Money better 
spent on a new fur for Tammy Bakker, 
a new Rolls Royce for Jimmy Swaggart, 
and Pat Robertson's campaign for the 
Oval Office. Moral outrage? Don't be ri- 

The logic is bizarre, at best. As out- 
raged as I was reading about the vast 
numbers of people taken in by this crap, 
I always felt grateful that none of my 
friends had signed over their souls. A few 
years ago, this ceased being the case. 

Brad was a friend of mine from col- 
lege who was fairly typical of the late 
60 's and early 70 's. He had hair down 
to his ass, a sincere interest in recrea- 
tional drugs, and was consistently to the 
left of center politically. In his quest for 
meaning in life, he emerged unscathed 
from bad acid trips, est, TM, Scientology, 
and working for the USDA. Unfortunate- 
ly, he was not so lucky with being "born 
again." Now every third sentence out of 
his mouth is punctuated with "Praise 
the Lord!" He doesn't hear any chal- 
lenge to his new-found beliefs, however 
gentle, reasonable, or logical. Instead he 
claims the only "truth" is in the Bible. 
And the Bible is "true" because it says 
it is "true." This makes about as much 
sense to me as believing everything 
Nixon said after he announced that he 
wasn't a crook. So now Brad lives a 



4 Years In The Making! 

Stephanie Klein and her friends finally tell 
the sordid Truth about Processed World. 
30 pages of 


Stranger Than Facts! 
Learn how Processed World "assumed 
the language of anti-expertise in order to 
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This, and much, much, MUCH MORE! 
Send no money, it's free! 
Write: Gidget Digit, POB 7353, 
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rif«'« ■ ■ ■ M'»»»»«-«-ww 



rather isolated life in Lodi, repairing bro- 
ken windows and going to church meet- 
ings. We are no longer in touch with 
each other as he is not allowed to asso- 
ciate with "the unclean." I'll miss him. 

1 do not want to be taken as a 
Bible basher. I admit freely that it does 
contain wisdom worthy of study and 
contemplation. However I do object to 
its being used to manipulate and pacify 
any segment of the population into be- 
lieving that the only power that they 
have is the power of prayer. When Marx 
declared that religion was the opiate of 
the, he had no way of foreseeing 
the mind numbing effects of television. 
The two together could well prove to 
be fatal for us all. As Pogo once said, 
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." 
I, for one, am terrified. But, then again, 
I'm not very patriotic. 

Joni Hockert — S.F. 


Dear PW: 

As the head of a less-than-average-ly- 
alienating work/play environment who 
has few illusions about there being many 
differences between wage slavery at the 
top or the bottom allow me to pose pos- 
sible questions for L.H.'s answers [PW 17 
p. 45], 

1 . When was the last time the western 
world desublimated desires to throw off 
the 'same old thing' in terms of capitalist 
and socialist answers to daily life? Hint: 
It happened in France! 

2. What's the average age of American 
men and women who realize that child- 
hood is a better deal than adulthood? 

3. What shows up in the local repair 
shop an average of once a month? 

4. How much money should be paid to 
the average unemployment insurance re- 
cipient with a bad attitude? 

5. What is the boss likely drinking at the 
Christmas party when the staff is com- 
pletely bombed and giving their real 
evaluations of what their work lives are 

6. How often do glazed-eyed, schizo- 
phrenic subscribers to PW re-read the 
last issue? 

7. Who did the folks who didn't vote 
for "No " for President in the last 5 elec- 
tions really vote for? 

8. What's the most boring, incompre- 
hensible, mainstream publication printed 
in what's supposedly English? 

9. When Tom Lehrer writes, "If you're 
looking for adventure of a new & dif- 
ferent kind. And you come across a girl 
scout who is similarly inclined. Don't 
get nervous, don't get flustered, don't 
get scared. Be prepared!" in his song of 
the same name as the last line, what is 
he really talking about? 

10. What is the last thing LaRouche pub- 
lications (i.e. "New Solidarity," "Fusion 

Magazine" etc.) need? 

I see on the same letters page, one 
from Bob McGlynn, an old friend. Hi 
Bob! Are we still fighting that one? Don't 
these goddam leftists never learn nuttin'? 
Fightin' the same old battles — like Puri- 
tanism — is, indeed infantile! 

love, Fred T. Friedman 
Hanover, Mass. 


Dear PW, 

Thank you for your review [of "Pur- 
suit of Happiness" in PW 17]. We ap- 
preciate the thought and effort that went 
into your piece. In most establishment 
journalism, the pressure of the deadline, 
combined with limitations of space and 
the tendency of many reviewers to be 
glib rather than constructive, lead most 
critical commentary to be shallow and of 
little concern to the producing company 
(aside from its potential financial impact). 
You are to be commended for bucking 
this trend by writing a piece which is 
earnest, insightful, and bound to pro- 
voke thought among your readers. 

It is interesting that you find parallels 
between the philosophy of our play and 
the ideals expressed by the 6()s move- 
ment. Steve and I are 25, separated by 
a generation from the Hippies. I think 
this points up at least two things: that 
the Hippies' influence is still being felt 
and that, in spite of the movement's 
failures, we have thus far failed to come 
up with any better antidote to the social 
ills that our current hierarchy engenders. 

^ ^ 


mmmm^ You CAN be^ 
replaced, ^ 

I do confess to at least one concession 
to traditional musical theatre: the happy 
ending. We went through several ver- 
sions of the conclusion during the wri- 
ting and rehearsal process, and for me it 
is still one of the less satisfying elements 
of the play. In one version I had en- 
visioned Grace being completely stuck, 
desperately unable to move in any direc- 
tion once she was fired. I consciously 
wanted at least one of the characters to 
be left unresolved at the play's end. It 
struck me that this would point up the 
very real lack of options available to 
anyone di.senchanted with the system. 
In the process of collaboration and re- 
hearsal, this format (among others) did 
not seem to work. 

What emerged instead was Grace's 
dream sequence with the Tall, Dark 
Stranger, a fine piece of writing on 
Steve's part, but one with a different 
thrust. It puts forth the proposition that 
if everyone — collaborating playwrights, 
world leaders, bosses and employees, 
husbands and wives, children and teach- 
ers, citizens and aging dictators, and so 
on — strive for a "spirit of imperfection 
and compromise, " then the pursuit of 
happiness — and the attainment of happi- 
ness — is a realistic ideal. 

But, lest we lose our perspective, I 
felt the main intent of our piece was to 
entertain and inform rather than to pro- 
selytize. Indeed, we had no real sugges- 
tions or solutions to the status quo to 
put forth, save perhaps that a change in 
attitude — getting back in touch with 
whatever it is one really wanted out of 
life before enlisting in the work force — 
is the first step in the long journey to- 
ward the ideal of self-fulfillment. 

Also, I know some people who find 
a good deal of self-fulfillment in their 
work. However, this piece is neither 
about nor for them. Generally, I don't 
find such people dramatically interesting, 
where is the dramatic tension and con- 
flict? I've also known people in corpo- 
rate structures who were desperately un- 
happy with their situations but weren't 
even conscious enough to realize it. 
This is the audience I most wanted to 
reach. I feel that the show's engagement 
at the Valencia Rose failed to draw them 
in any significant numbers (for several 
reasons, which 1 won't bother to elabo- 
rate here). 

This is why I am eager to see AART 
present the show during lunchtime in a 
location downtown where large numbers 
of workers may be reached. Out of ne- 
cessity, the show will be revised and per- 
formed in an abbreviated form. I feel this 
will make a good show stronger, and I 
appreciate your suggestion to this effect. 

Best wishes to all of you at Processed 

WB Higgs, Artist and Audience 
Responsive Theatre, SF & DC 

Processed World / 41 Sutter St. ^1829 / Son Francisco, CA 94104 



Dream Texture 

by Bonita Louise